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[Advent Sunday 

Lit us therefore cast off the works 0/ darkness and 
kt us put on the armour of light, 

Romans xiii. 12 

THIS is the day when, in preparation for the 
festival of the coming of Jesus, in whose 
infant soul was hidden the spiritual kingdom of 
love, we are called upon, according to the old tra- 
dition, to purify our lives. The Epistle, which Roman 
and Protestant Churches have read from generation 
to generation, which is hallowed to our imagina- 
tion when we think how many millions have listened 
to it and felt their heart beat faster, is embodied in 
the Collect which, of all these Scripture prayers, is 
perhaps the most noble in expression ; so noble, 
that the words themselves, uplifted by their thought, 
sound like a great ArchangeVs trumpet on a festal 
day. And both Epistle and Collect call upon us, 



while we look to our Master in the past, to realise 
His presence with us in the present; to expect a 
yet greater deliverance of mankind; to make our- 
selves worthy of a new phase in God's progressive 
revelation ; and to prepare for the many things 
Christ has then to say to us by cleansing our hearts 
and lives ; by fighting for the good causes of love 
and justice, clothed in the armour of light. 

It is a good and grave tradition. Its basis is 
historical. Before the new life came to man with 
Jesus, it had been preceded by the preaching of 
John the Baptist. Before men heard of Love — of 
God's love to them, of man's love to man, and of 
both as universal — from the lips of Christ, they had 
heard of Law, the law of right doing and of repent- 
ance by right doing, from the lips of John. Moral 
purity was not the gospel, but it was the plain path 
which led to the gospel. To get clear of wrong 
opened the eyes to see the further truth of keeping 
clear of wrong through love of righteousness known 
in God the Father, and through love of man known 
in Jesus Christ. That historical basis has been 
again and again relaid. Whenever, in the spiritual 
development of mankind, a higher aspect of the 
truths of love which Jesus taught has been revealed 
to men, or a deeper insight given into the character of 
God — these revelations have been preceded by the 



call, made sometimes by one man, sometimes by a 
whole people, for the casting out of works of darkness, 
for greater purity in national life. And such a call is 
necessary not only as preparing the soul for the 
reception of new light, but also as guarding the soul 
against the degradation of this light. 

In human affairs which belong to religion it often 
happens that a wider, freer doctrine leads men away 
into carelessness of moral conduct, or that the pas- 
sionate excitement created by the new ideas changes 
into a lower excitement in which the passions may 
become sensual. To protect ourselves against this 
weakness, to guard Church or sect against it, the 
first, the imperative necessity, is an awful reverence 
for moral right, a downright determination to clear 
the soul and life of works of darkness, to walk in 
the light as children of the light. 

It has been thus in history. It ought to be the 
same in the changes which are wrought in our little 
lives when fresh aspects of ancient truths break like 
the dawn upon us. Things have gone in such a way 
with us that we feel upon the verge of a new world 
of work and thought. Over a landscape within 
which has been troublous and dark the clouds 
begin to lift, and our soul prophesies the sun- 
light. Religious doctrines, which have locked up 
our soul in frost, loosen in the coming warmth of 



a higher view of God and life. Our inner life at all 
these changes begins to thrill, to move like the heart 
of the folded flowers when first the west wind blows. 
It is a call for preparation. Within you, it is like 
Palestine before Jesus began to preach ; dim excite- 
ment, passionate longing, or wild expectation. Let 
all the eagerness be not only the eagerness of hope ! 
Let it also be the eagerness of action. Hear the voice 
of the Baptist : '' Repent, since a kingdom of heaven 
is at hand for you. Prepare the way of the Lord 
in your soul. Make the inward paths straight. Get 
life clear of wrongdoing." 

Else, if the new life come while the old life is 
still encumbered with unrepented joys of the world 
and the flesh, the higher thought, dragged down 
by the evil temper of the soul, may be unable to 
sustain itself, or the new passion in the heart become 
the minister to loose morality. Then, alas, the glory 
dies, the revelation tums^ to thick darkness, the 
experience of triumph and joy is the beginning of 
fresh failure and sorrow. "Cast away the works 
of darkness," that is the first Advent cry of prepara- 
tion, the first demand of God, the first absolute 
necessity for being able to see and keep the light. 
The demand is not as yet a demand for holiness, not 
as yet to pursue after the ideal aim of Jesus, but 

it is to clean your soul, to make ready in the desert 



in which you are living a clear highway down which 
God may come to you in revelation. 

There are those who know they are doing wrong, 
who will not let loose their sin, yet whose intellect, 
imagination and easy fervour run to meet a higher 
view of life and of religion. The downright truth 
about them is that unless they banish the dark thing, 
root it out and cast it from them, they may see the 
light but will not keep it ; may touch it and yet turn 
it into corruption. We must give up what we know 
to be sin. Then, when the kingdom of God opens 
before us, we can not only enter into it, but abide 
in it. 

When that is done, the next step is possible, the 
putting on of the armour of light. The inspiration 
has come to us; new thought, and aims, and 
emotions; new views of God, new views of man, 
new motives in our soul. Good news they are ; a 
gospel such as men felt when long oppressed with 
sin or with the ceremonial law they heard the voice of 
Jesus say : " Follow me in love ; love God for He 
loves you; love man for man is the child of God." 
We hear, and our heart goes forth to fulfil in life 
what we have felt within. 

Well, all seems easy then ; we seem indeed to 
have already attained. Yet the warfare has but 
begun, and we find out that life is not peace with evil, 



though it be peace within. And the first thing to do 
when we have passed over the border of the kingdom 
is to put on our armour. There, by the wayside, 
just beyond the ridge, is, I picture, a great building 
blazing in the light, for its walls are of adamant ; and 
in its porch stands Fortitude, leaning on her four- 
fold shield, and round her shoulders and drawn over 
her square brows, the lion's head and hide. That 
Virtue has won her fight, but her sword is still bare in 
her hand, and in her shield are the broken spears and 
fierce arrows of the enemies she has slain. She is 
the image of what we are to be, and of the life we 
are to lead. Above her head, over the portal of 
the door, in letters of shooting lightning, is written 
this verse : " Endure hardness like a good soldier 
of Jesus Christ." We pass the porch and enter 
the vast hall, and on every side, from end to end, 
stand the images of those who have fought most 
worthily the good fight of faith, who most nobly 
have wrought righteousness; clothed from head to 
foot in their panoply of light. This is the armoury 
of the invincible knights of Jesus Christ. We 
look on them and take courage and pray that we 
may be made fit for their inheritance. And as we 
pray. One comes, bearing our armour — for all the 
armour of each of us is stored in the great side- 
chapels of the hall — and fits it on, and tells us of the 



work which we must do with it, defensive and 
offensive. As we listen to His soft, courageous 
voice, which while it thrills our h^art, strengthens 
our will, we know that we are not called to ease, but 
to hardness ; not to slumber, but to waking through 
the night and day of life ; not to a sentiment of 
Christ, but to follow in His steps, with the Cross on 
the shoulder and the sword drawn and the soul 
alert to carry on the battle that He fought with sin 
and death and hell ; and His last words to us are 
these, clear in their statement of trial, undeceiving 
in their severe truth, but ending with encouragement 
and certainty of victory : *' In this world ye shall 
have tribulation, but be of good cheer : I have over- 
come the world." Then we pass forth, and as we 
go down the steps. Fortitude smiles and bids us 
good speed; and out of a lowly cottage near the 
great steps, there runs a little child and takes our 
hand, and looking into our eyes, says softly : " Keep 
me with you all along the way, in every battle and 
in every peace. I am the lowly love, the grace of 
Jesus Christ." 

So we begin the Christian life. The land over 
which we have to march and to contend lies before 
us in the morning light. It will be no easy task to win 
it through. We know, now that we are armed, that 
it will be one long battle-field, but that the foes 



and the fighting will lessen in proportion as the 
battles have been nobly and strictly fought, until at 
the end there will be nothing left to conquer. To be a 
good soldier, as Christ was, that is our business, our 
steady joy, our glorious calling; and well was St. 
Paul inspired, when, borne by his spiritual passion 
into noble imagery, he described in the Epistle to 
the Ephesians the panoply of the Christian warrior, 
piece after piece of the divinely tempered armour, 
from the helmet to the sandals, from the shield 
to the sword ; defensive and offensive for the 
sake of the great causes dear to God and dear 
to man. " Having your loins girt about with 
truth, and having on the breastplate of righteous- 
ness, and your feet shod with the preparation 
of the Gospel of peace : above all, taking the 
shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench 
all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the 
helmet of salvation — * and for a helmet, the hope of 
salvation ' — and the sword of the Spirit, which is the 
Word of God." 

" Stand therefore," he cries, for if half our life be 
marching on when the battle is over, half our life is 
also standing and withstanding in battle ; stand there- 
fore, having girt your loins with Truth. There, in the 
midst of the body, is the strength of a man, woven 
in and out in knitted muscle and sinew ; strength to 



withstand in wrestling, strength to hold to the 
ground, strength to heave and overthrow, strength 
to pursue and overtake — and well does the image 
represent the power of rigid resistance with which 
the life of the soul is to wrestle against the princi- 
palities of evil, against the world-rulers of this 
darkness — the devilish conceptions which tyrannise 

It is on the knowledge and conviction of truth 
that this strength abides and endures. ''I know 
the truth of that for which I fight and stand." It is 
a might}' knowledge and it makes might. Truth 
round the loins of the spirit, and the certainty of its 
certainty, are the lasting power in the battle for 
God and man. Failure, to be beaten down in the 
fight, ridicule, the scorn and defeat of the world, are, 
if we are convinced of truth, only a passing trouble. 
**0 mine enemy," we cry, "though I fall I shall 
arise. What do I care for the world's cry ; what is 
it to me if I die in the battle ? I live again, for the 
truth lives." This is the carelessness of the Christian 
warrior. ** My life is nothing, my cause is all. 
Great truths are my strength. It is true God is my 
Father ; it is true my sins are forgiven ; it is true 
I shall be at one with God for ever." He who has 
girt his loins with these is already conqueror of death 

and hell, and his march is over vanquished lies. 



Then round his breast where his heart lies, the 
source of imagination and of feeling, he binds the 
corslet of Righteousness. Yes, the issues of life, the 
treasures of pure passion, the loves and sorrows of 
life, its lighter affections, its fancies and dreams, 
its ideals and their poetry — these, above all, need 
guarding by righteousness. They are so beautiful 
that our greatest danger lies in their false allure- 
ments. The light that leads astray seems light from 
heaven. There is but one protection against the 
attack of evil on them. It is strict righteousness, 
clasped close and mightily riveted around the heart. 

And for the head, where thought abides and 
weaves its web; where plans of battle, means of 
conquest, theories of action, forms of work, are made ; 
where Will commands, organises and directs all powers 
to an end ; where conscience analyses and compares 
— what helmet suits it best? The helmet of the 
Hope of salvation ! Plans fail ; measures are foiled ; 
theories are dispersed by experience ; forms of work 
are impermanent ; the organised force of will breaks 
down ; the analysis of conscience does not meet, as 
we hoped, the difficulties of right and wrong ; and 
then, after these failures, comes the attack of the 
deadly phantom, despair— of the forerunner of 
despair, despondence. The defence against these 
evil ones is the helmet, the hope of salvation. It is 



2l hope which does not make ashamed ; that is, it does 
not fail to realise itself. In spite of failures, the life 
of love and righteousness is saved by this hope. The 
plans of life, the ideas we loved, the organised work 
of our will, may be defeated, but the things behind 
them, those glorious objects for which we made 
them — these are saved, they are incapable of de- 
struction. And out of this conviction so mighty a 
hope is redoubled, that we pass with unbroken spirit 
out of every failure, and reorganise life with even 
greater freshness than before. We are saved by hope. 

One more defence is ours, one more defensive 
piece of armour. It is the shield of Faith. For, as 
we move through life, we move through an arrow- 
storm of doubts of God. From the evil we see in 
nature and in man, from our own deep fears, from 
the cares and sorrows of our life, from the tempta- 
tions which beset us, from the woeful thoughts of 
other men, from the misery of the whole world— 
the fiery darts of mockery of God, of doubts of His 
being, of suspicion of His love, of anger with the 
course of things, are shot against our heart and 

The guard of life against these is trust in God, 

the shield of faith. " Whatever happens," we say, 

* He must be just and right. I will believe in Him 

against all proof to the contrary. I will hold to 



Him, though He seem to slay me with pain. I will 
trust His love and righteousness against all the 
misery of mankind. He is our Father ; He will, He 
must redeem His children." 

This is the true defence of life. On that shield 
the suspicions of God which burn into us from 
without, and which by their torment would render 
active goodness in daily work impossible, are extin- 
guished. From its noble round fall harmless to the 
earth the worst of the adders of war, the inward 
doubts which make us idle and nerveless in our 
fighting. They stab at us, crying, " You will never 
attain to God; you will never know the love of 
Christ ; you will never conquer that sin, never reach 
your aim, never pass through this trial. God has 
forsaken you. Give up the strife." " I will not 
give up," we answer; "I believe in God. If I say 
to this mountain of woe or sin — Be thou removed 
and cast into the sea, it will obey me." 

This, then, is the defensive armour with which we 
set out to follow the fighting of Jesus over the world. 
We have cast away the works of darkness ; we have 
entered the kingdom ; we are armed ; and now lying 
before us is the world of men, and beyond, the 
heavenly city of the soul. But before we reach its 
shining walls there is many a weary tramp for us 
through deserts of trouble and pain. Many are the 



long nights we must outwatch against the surprises 
of sin ; many the sudden combats we shall have to 
wage with the forces of the world that lurk in 

thievish ways. And, at times, in a solemn crisis of 


life, we must fight a pitched battle, continued for 
days, against the enemies of God and man. Some- 
times we conquer, sometimes we meet a 'sore defeat, 
often we are left wounded nigh to death upon the 
field. After conquest or defeat, we rest ; sleeping in 
the hollow of our shield of faith, and our sword, that 
has life in itself, whirling and flashing round our 
slumber as its guard. But always it is war — war 
with wrong, war with falsehood, war with injustice, 
war with luxury, war with scorn, war with every 
force which divides instead of uniting man. And in 
ourselves, war with unrighteous thought and with 
feeble passions. 

This is the life to which we are called to-day. 
Therefore, let us cast off the works of darkness, and 
let us put on the armour of light. 




And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel 

of peace, , . , And take the sword of the Spirit which is 

the Word of God. 

Ephesians vi. 15, 17 

WHEN in the ** Faerie Queene," Prince Arthur, 
who is the image of the Magnificence, that 
is, of the Great-Doing of the Christian wamor, 
rides forth on adventure, that which Spenser dwells 
on most is the dazzling brilliancy of his armour. 
The earth, as he passes, is illuminated with the 
show of it. But the symbol which St. Paul uses 
here, of the " armour of light," is concentrated by 
Spenser in the shield of the Prince. It is hewn out 
of solid diamond, and is so bright that it is covered 
up, lest it should flash into blindness all mortal eyes. 
Only rarely, and when the fight with the monsters 
of evil is greatest, is the covering let slip, and then 
it dazes the courage, confounds the mind, and blinds 

the eyes of the wicked ones, so that they fall an 

17 B 


easy prey to Arthur's puissant sword. It was thus 
in the terrible battle he waged with the two most 
powerful sources of wrong and ruin, with giant Pride, 
and the Falsehood that wears the mask of Truth — 
with Orgoglio and Duessa. 

The manifestation of light is then enough to over- 
come and destroy darkness. This is the full result 
and use of the Christian armour; this makes the 
duty of its wearer to carry it into darkness. There 
are portions of it which are only defensive, the 
helmet, the shield, the breastplate, the girdle of the 
loins — ^hope, faith, righteousness, and truth ; but 
these are offensive also ; they pour forth light upon 
the darkness. Therefore the finest weapon of 
offence against evil is the whole of the armour, the 
light which shines from it — the manifestation in life 
of righteousness, faith, hope, truth, glad tidings of 
peace, the flashing in all that we say and shape of 
the Word, of the truth of God, of the sword of the 
spirit. These are spiritual arms; the true battle 
then is never waged with the weapons of the world. 

Our habit, only too often, is to attack moral and 
intellectual evil with tvil means, with violent words, 
with bitter denunciation, even with the material 
sword ; with imprisonments and laws created for the 
occasion, or with their equivalents of persecution in 
domestic or social life. 



This is to use evil to overcome evil, and the result 
is the increasing of evil. We shall never set up the 
kingdom of God with the means of the devil, and yet 
it is what the whole of the Christian world is inces- 
santly and blindly trying to do. When we denounce 
evil with violent words, the root of our violence is 
some evil thing in ourselvies. Below our desire to 
overthrow evil lies pride in our fine denunciation of it. 
Sometimes it is envy of the success of evil, and of the 
pleasure that it gives to the senses of others, which 
sharpens our tongue. Sometimes jealousy is at the 
root of our wrath with our neighbour's wrong-doing ; 
jealousy which makes us believe that we are just 
when we are only mean ; jealousy which, once 
admitted to our company, tears every piece of our 
Christian armour off, and having made us naked, 
sits on our breast and gnaws our heart with teeth 
of fire. These are personal ways of doing the wrong 
of meeting evil with evil ; but the wrong is worse in 
its results when it is done by communities ; by a 
Church, by religious assemblies, by a whole profes- 
sion, by the Press, by Governments, by kings and 
priests combined to persecute. If the thing they 
persecute be good, they ruin their own souls ; if it 
be evil/they increase its evil. At every point, think- 
ing to establish the kingdom of God, they develop 
the kingdom of the devil. 



The true way to meet any evil is to manifest the 
opposite of it in your life, to shine upon it with the 
light of righteousness and love. If you wish to 
weaken and overthrow pride in men or in your 
friends, be yourself clothed with humility. If you 
would destroy a lie, make clear in your whole 
character the truth which contradicts it. If you 
wish to do away with injuriousness, let forgiveness 
glow within you. If you wish to conquer despair 
in your friend, let incessant hope brighten in your 
eyes and be eloquent upon your tongue. Do not 
denounce, shine forth. March forward, all illumina- 
tion, being and doing the things of faith and 
righteousness, hope and joy, of peace and truth. 

When we can thus shine, the caverns of dark- 
ness are filled with light. Then the creatures who 
live in them are revealed as they are, shapes of in- 
famy and loathing. The world sees them clearly and 
is horrified. They blink upon the light, dragged 
out of their holes and corners by it, and fall blind 
and die. The caverns themselves are rent asunder. 
The light of our armour shatters their roof ; it has 
seemed to be rock, it is nothing but foul cloud and 
thickened gloom. God's glory in us pours into the 
hollow dark, and in days to come the place of monsters 
is changed into a valley of sweet waters. There 

the flowers of love and goodness grow, and men and 



women walk in peace and joy. This is, then, part of 
the Christian war. Ye are of the light, walk as 
children of the light. 

Two other parts of the armour yet remain; the 
sandals and the sword. The first of these is the 
readiness to bring the glad tidings of peace ; the 
flying sandals symbolise the swift and ardent joy 
with which the warrior of Christ proclaims the 
Gospel of the Peace-maker. No slothful person is 
he, no crawler on the way, but one who has shoes 
of readiness, winged on his message like Perseus, 
swift to work ; ardent with joy, for without ardour 
no great labour is accomplished, no battle fought 
out to the close. Nor is the ardour that sombre 
ardour which burns like dark fire in those who fight 
with life in hopeless unbelief of the triumph of the 
good for which they contend — the unhappy yet noble 
lot of many in these days — but the enchanted fervour 
which is born of carrying glad tidings, and which 
fills the bringer of them with gladness. 

In a world which, when it is in earnest has the 
custom of mournfulness, and when it is joyous has 
the custom of frivolity, it is the gracious duty of the 
Christian man to be serious without dark sorrow, to 
be joyous without losing earnestness. The groaning 
prophet, the grim-visaged puritan, the creatures who 
think that repentance means the torture of remorse, 



and who menace those they preach to with eternal 
woe, as if that were glad tidings of peace — are not 
wearing the sandals St. Paul puts upon the feet of 
the Christian warrior, for these are winged with glad 
tidings, and the joy of faith and love smiles upon 
the face of their wearer. And, in truth, the message 
of God's love and man's redemption, of conquest of 
life and of immortal life, is so glorious that he who 
believes it cannot but think of the message more 
than of himself. And to lose himself is joy. In the 
pleasure of what he tells his own pain is forgotten ; 
and far beyond the trouble of men he sees the eternal 
rapture they shall have in likeness to God. Re- 
joicing himself, he makes others rejoice. Ardent 
himself, he brings ardour to a languid world. It is 
part of his battle with evil. Of all the weapons we 
wield against wrong there is none more effective 
than pure and burning joy. 

And we are glad because the glad tidings are of 
peace. It is the one thing we want in a world 
which is diseased with restlessness and variance. 
Only too well we know what it is to be at anarchy 
within — desires of good contending with desires of 
evil ; the will dragged hither and thither by battling 
motives ; the spirit fighting with the flesh, now 
overcoming, now being overcome ; good exaggerated 
into wrong, or weakness hurried into it ; the heart 



made into the battle-field of love against the false 
forms of love — that which we would, we do not, and 
that which we would not, that we do. Earthly wars 
make a great noise, but if we could unveil the battle in 
the souls of men, and hear the inconceivable sound 
of it, the very music of the spheres would be hushed 
in the roaring of the contest. 

To that, if we do our duty rightly, we are bound 
to bring the glad tidings of peace, and there is but one 
root of peace. It is to have the will of God as the 
master of our will ; to have one desire alone, to do 
His will ; one aim only, to live in obedience to God's 
righteousness. For then, under one ruler, all our 
powers, subordinated each to his own place and 
w^ork, go forward like a disciplined army to one 
conquest. This is peace, the peace of harmony ; 
and, when we are at last tired of being torn to pieces 
within by incessant revolutions, there is no tidings 
in the world so glad as this which we hear from 
Christ : " Come unto me, all ye who are weary and 
heavy laden, and I will give you rest.** 

But that is but a part of the peace we have to 
proclaim with readiness. We have to tell the tale 
of God no longer represented as the enemy but as 
the lover of man ; and by that tale of love to recon- 
cile man to God. We have to lead men, understand- 
ing that God is Love, to turn to Him with longing ; 



for who can be at enmity with one whom he believes 
to love him? We war against God because we 
think He is unjust and cruel to us, angry with the 
children He ought to love. But when we know that 
He loves us even when we are sinners, that He will 
never leave us till we are at one with His goodness, 
our war with Him is closed. Peace falls like dew 
upon the spirit. 

We have to bring this tidings of love to nations 
hating one another: to classes at war with one 
another, to friends that have been sundered, to 
the injurer and the injured. " Surrender your dull 
scorn," we cry, "of one another; cease to revenge 
yourselves ; be pitiful, be courteous ; consider your 
enemy's feeling more than your own ; do him good 
when most he does you evil ; yield the points to him 
which do not involve duty to righteousness; cast 
your pride into the deepest abyss; forget now the 
wrong that you have suffered ; seek out the good in 
your foes, bring it into light and proclaim it to the 
world ; abandon your own justification and the 
retorting accusations on which you found it. Thus, 
bringing into all the wars of earth loving-kindness, 
belief in good and endurance of wrong in that belief, 
your whole life will be the active proclamation of 
the gospel of peace. There is nothing which will 
lead you into closer fellowship to the Captain of 



your warfare, Jesus Christ. There is no deadlier 
weapon than this publishing of peace in the hands 
of a Christian warrior. Evil falls before it more 
hopelessly than even before the sword of the spirit. 
Take up this part of your great warfare. ** How 
beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him 
that bringeth glad tidings, that publisheth peace." 

At last, we meet with the actual weapon of the 
armour — the sword of the spirit which is the Word 
of God ; and the Word of God means the whole 
Thought of God ; all the divine ideas expressed in 
speech or writing by men. It is all the true, just, 
loving, wise and beautiful truths, which, derived from 
God, have been seized by men since the beginning 
of the world ; the primary truths which have been 
arrived at in science, in art, in law, in morals and in 
religion. These are the Word of God among men. 
And whenever it goes forth, wherever it is proclaimed, 
it acts like a sword and leads the war. Every mighty 
truth rouses the falsehood which it contradicts 
against it ; and war is declared in the realm to which 
the truth belongs — in the realms of science, art or 
religion. Day by day it defends its position against 
these falsehoods; day by day it slays the host of 
them, nor is it ever sheathed until they are all 
destroyed. This is its spiritual, immaterial war. It 



is the sword of God's thought, of His truth, His 
beauty, of His righteousness, aud of His love. 

" It is quick and powerful," says the writer of the 
Epistle to the Hebrews. Truth is alive, and cannot 
lose its vital power. Where it lives, there is energy. 
Life, as power, spreads from it. Take, for example, 
this one saying of Jesus Christ, embodying the truth 
that rules the whole spiritual world. ** Whosoever 
shall lose his life, the same shall find it"! Think 
of the incessant changing life, in a million varied 
souls, of this Word of God ; think of its kindling 
power, its persistent energy in the life of the whole 
world. Thought fails and imagination drops her 
wing before they can realise the thousandth part of 
the work done by such a sword of the spirit. And 
this, which is true of a spiritual truth, is equally 
true of a scientific, of a moral, of an artistic truth. 
These Words of God are sources of life, energies 


which must act, swords which hew down the false- 

hoods that oppose them. The sword St. Paul spoke 

of was a sword of the spirit, but there are swords of 

the intellect, swords of the conscience, swords of the 

imagination, and they too are the Word of God. 

Sharp, piercing, and dividing also is the sword 

of any truth. It goes home to the roots of things, 

cleaving its way straight through all deceit to the 

actual realities of life; piercing through the very 



joints and marrow of lies ; till men know, in its keen 
and sudden stroke, the vanity and vileness in which 
they have been living ; and the trickeries of casuistry 
and sophistry are separated from the lie and leave 
it naked and forlorn. It discerns and divides the 
thoughts of the heart of man — separates motive from 
motive, feeling from feeling, argument from argument ; 
forces each to stand aside, reveals each exactly for 
what it is. Then we see clear at last. All the 
mingling of good and evil, of true and false, of ugliness 
and beauty — in which the clear lines of right and 
wrong, of loving and unloving, of fair and foul, are 
involved and blurred ; a mixture and confusion which 
is the very condition of wrong doing and wrong 
thinking and wrong feeling — is utterly put an end to. 
We know things as they are, and we can choose our 
way clearly. This is the dividing of the sword, of 
any Word of God ; and there is nothing which is ot 
greater use in the war with evil. 

Therefore get your swords ; find truths — in science, 
art, politics and religion. Find the Words of God. 
And when you have got them, gird them on, draw 
them in the battle God has ordained, wield them 
for the sake of the progress and salvation of man- 
kind. Be master of their management. Slay with 
them the falsehoods of the world ; defend with them 

those whom the falsehoods oppress ; pierce with 



them the hearts of men, dividing the evil from the 

goodj separate with them the false from the true, 

that men may be able to see and choose the right. 

Let them flash in the forefront of the fight. Let 

them above all flash and pierce, slay and sift in yom* 

own heart, till in its cities and its country nothing 

lives which is not true and pure, beautiful and just, 

clear in thought, and loving in feeling I For you 

are not worthy to wield the sword of the spirit in 

the outward world, unless you are wielding it day 

by day against the spiritual enemies of your own 


Then, we are fit to use our sword of God's spiritual 

Truth to slay the evil and defend the good* The 

blade of that sword is welded of many truths, the 

spiritual Word of God of many words of God ; and 

these are some of them — God is one, and God is 

love. Every soul is His child and destined to glorify 

Him for ever. Sin is forgiven. New life is opened 

to repentance. The lost are always sought by the 

great Shepherd till He find them. Holiness is to be 

won and must be won. Love is to be the master 

of all action. Men are brothers of one another in 

their universal childhood to the Father. Jesus, 

because He loved the most, is the leader of our 

life and warfare. He is with us to the end of the 

world and we shall live with His Father for ever 



Immortaltiy with God is the certainty of certainties, 
and we ought to live in it now. There is no real 
death in the world. The race of man is destined to 
everlasting joy in everlasting love. These are the 
bars of spiritual steel which forged together make 
the sword of the teacher of the Gospel, of the lover 
of Jesus Christ. 

So then the Christian warrior is fully equipped 
with his armour. Helmet, breastplate, girdling coat 
of mail, shield, sandals and sword clothe him now. 
Let him go forth to do his duty. But why speak so 
impersonally ? It is ourselves who are to cast off 
the works of darkness, ourselves who are to be 
armed for God and man. The battle is set in array 
before us now ; now the onset sounds, now we see 
the host of darkness. Draw the sword of the spirit, 
lift the shield of faith, be swift and ardent of foot, 
bear breastplate and helm into the thick of the 
battle. Ught manfully under the banner of Christ 
against sin, the world, and the flesh ; continue His 
faithful soldier and servant unto your life's end. 




Praying always with all prayer and supplication in 
the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance, 

Ephesians vi. i8 

THE noble passage, noble in the judgment of liter- 
ature as well as of religion, in which St. Paul 
calls on the Christian warrior to stand against the evil, 
to endue the full armour of God, and to follow Jesus 
Christ to battle, is a splendid cry to arms. We 
seem to hear in its high trumpet-note the clear echo 
of even a greater cry — "Behold, the Bridegroom 
Cometh, go ye forth to meet him ; " and the martial 
and exultant music ought, at this Advent time, to 
send us forth, with solemn joy, armed with the whole 
armour of God, to fight the good fight of faith. 

But these hours of high resolve are succeeded by 
hours of sadness, even of defeat ; and the Bride- 
groom delays his coming. Well did St. Paul know 
these hours of depression. Well did he know how 



long, how desperate sometimes was the fight. And the 
knowledge made him add my text to his description 
of the Christian armour. To meet this weariness, 
sorrow, or despair, he added three more things, ex- 
pressed in his peculiar interweaving fashion, to the 
equipment of the soldier of Christ — Patience, Prayer, 
and Watchfulness, and these describe the temper of 
the soldier's mind within his armour. 

(i) Patience is the perseverance of the warriors 
of God ; the steady holding on to the march and 
the battle ; faithfulness to the cause of Christ through 
life to death ; steadfastness in withstanding evil in 
one's-self, and in the world. In youth, the battle we 
have to fight is at first like an easy march through 
our enemy's country. Our self-will, that evil foe 
within, would fain deceive us into sloth and careless- 
ness, into the belief that he is not an enemy at all. 
Softly he whispers, " You may as well make peace 
with me, I am not so bad as the good people say." 
When we listen to that voice, the wild curiosity of 
youth awakens, and our desire is no longer to fight 
against wrong, but to yield to it, because it is so 
pleasant and so unknown. And then youth has so 
much of eagerness and passion that they throw a 
glamour over wrong in which it seems delightful. 
Evil is veiled, or concealed, or seems to be good. 
The country through which our youthful marching 



lies is fair and gentle. Soft meadows and sweet 
waters; places for sleep and dreaming; sunny 
rivers down which we drift from reach to reach when 
the will is slumbering ; tents by the fringes of the 
singing woods where young love attracts us into 
full devotion ; amusement, excitements, dances and 
games, which seem innocent as the morning and 
which indeed are innocent enough, unless we forget 
in them that we are soldiers of God against the 
evil, and that our march is onward to an unseen 
goal. Enjoy them all, but remember. Remember 
you are not your own. God claims you for mankind. 
Then you pass into the world of men, and a new 
temptation rises. The cities on your march open 
their gates to you, welcome you as citizens, offer 
you business to gain wealth, tell you of place and 
honour to be won. And their oifers may be ac- 
cepted, provided that you keep your armour on. 
But if they induce you, in order to gain these results 
more quickly, to lay aside your breastplate of in- 
ward righteousness, of outward justice to your fellow 
men, to palter with truth, to violate your love of 
God's character, and of men — they induce you to 
desert the army of God and to betray your master 
Jesus. Do your business, but in your armour. Fight 
in your daily work for the character of God. Pro- 
claim its rightful rule in your profession, in your 

33 c 


^ las 

: :t r^e 


be content with this world ; forget this high 

n which forbids your material success ; be 

■ e a pilgrim of the invisible beauty, a seeker 

I's perfection ! Why seek a city to come ? 

- your city, and it is all." It is not all, and 

t your true dwelling-place. Your All is only 

in the infinite life of God, in union with your 

Your city is not in these shadows, but in the 

ice of God's everlasting love, whose warfare 

ikind you wage on earth. That is the true 

human life, and its splendour and beauty are 

it that it should make patient perseverance 

-doing, fervent prayer and faithful watching, 

> the warrior of God. 

, then, is the perseverance of youth. But 
ve have gone through the battles that belong 
h, the manner of our warfare often changes. 
e no longer seduced by ease, or enthralled by 
nto forgetfulness. We are rather worn out 
d labour or battered by trouble. The aspect 
country of life changes. Long roads of mono- 
labour tire the eye and heart. No light, no 
akes the march easy. Day after day is the 
and we have now to contend with apathy, with 
:iess of work. Or, not monotony, but dreadful 
e comes upon us. We have to cross the thirsty 
of bitter sorrow, or treacherous disillusion 



We lose the love which made our way dear to us ; 
we are betrayed ; we are whirled into poverty out of 
wealth ; we make a host of enemies by being faithful 
to our cause ; — many are the troubles of middle age. 
This is the central struggle of life ; the valley of the 
shadow of death. There, as Bunyan pictured it in 
his allegory, Apollyon, the Destroyer, seems to meet 
us face to face. Well, in this grim battle, where 
faith in a God of love is tried to the utmost, the 
question is — " Shall we answer bravely to the 
ancient battle-cry, ' Endure hardness, like a good 
soldier of Jesus Christ ; * and even at the last gasp of 
strength, keep the shield of faith steadily over our 
fallen life ; and hear, like a wind humming in the 
hollow of it, the voice of our own soul in its stead- 
fast perseverance : * I know whom I have believed, 
and am confident that He will keep that which I have 
committed to Him against that day ' ? If that be our 
faithful voice, the dark valley will open into light ; 
the evil thing which bade us deny the love of God 
because of hfe's passing misery, vanishes away. No 
temptation can endure faith in the love of God. We 
emerge victorious from the central trouble of life 
with all our armour brighter for the contest ; emerge 
to live more closely with God, more lovingly with 
our brother men. 

When we have thus conquered in the mid-battle of 



life, another struggle waits us often in our later years. 
We come in life's journey to the great and snow- 
crowned range of truth, on whose peaks is the certain 
conviction of truth. The effort to grasp spiritual 
truth fully and clearly is often the silent warfare of 
that time of life in which the press of manhood's 
work has ceased. Sometimes this is the hardest 
fight of all, the longest trial of endurance. For the 
way is often through sunless gorges, and the heights 
of truth seem inaccessible. But now we are strong 
enough to feel that we will not give up our climbing. 
Therefore, clasping the shield of faith close to the 
breast, and closer on the head the helm of the hope 
of salvation, we make, always upward, our painful 
way, and come at last among the icy slopes below the 
summits. There, at least, the air is pure ; there, at 
least, we see the peaks of the great Truths clear, and 
above them the blue, unclouded sky of God's love 
into which the great Truths always rise. Earth with 
all its doubts is far below us now. We know God is 
our Father, and that men His children are our 
brothers. We know we are immortal in Him, and 
that He is immortal in us and in all men ; and we 
need to know no more. Our manhood's warfare is 

There is yet more to do and more to receive, but 
our patience in old age is not battle ; it is rather the 



veterans waiting for his call to go up higher. As 
he waits, he loves men better ; he cheers the young, 
he speaks comfort to the middle-aged ; he tells the 
warriors what is transient and what is eternal. And 
within, his soul deepens into finer and greater power ; 
his prayer is nearer to communion with God and 
further from petition to God ; his watchfulness for 
new revelation is more eager than before. This 
proof of the intensity of immortality is afforded him 
— that as his outward man decays his inward man 
is renewed more and more. And the battle of the 
past has now changed into spiritual power; power 
of growing faith and of deepening love ; power of 
consolation. Every misery of his past warfare has 
brought forth a fruit of joy. The light his armour 
throws on wrong is tenfold now. The fame of hope 
from his helmet's crest shines unweariedly; wings 
grow upon the sandals which bear him on to tell with 
ready eagerness all the good news of God to man. In 
the weakness of old age he is upborne to the top- 
most peaks of truth ; and stands upon them as the 
hour of death draws near, certain of God's father- 
hood and of man's salvation. It is a solitary hour, 
but he is not alone. The Father is with him. He 
stretches out his hands to the sky in thankfulness 
and joy, in absolute peace. " Mighty Father, now 
take thy servant home. I have fought the good 



fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the 

This is the result of that perseverance of fortitude 
which St. Paul meant by patience. It is an active, 
not a passive quality. There are those who think 
it is Christian patience to sit down by the wayside 
to endure the storm, crying in themselves, " God is 
hard on me, but I will bear His smiting ; " but their 
endurance is only idleness which is ignoble, and 
hiding from the battle which is cowardice. Or they 
cry, " I am the victim of Fate, but I will be patient " 
— as if any one could be a victim if God be love, or 
as if there were such a thing as blind fate, when the 
order of the world is to lead men into righteousness ; 
when to be victor and not victim is the main word 
of that order. No, the severity of the battle is to 
force us into self-forgetfulness ; and this lazy re- 
signation, this wailing patience, is mere self-re- 
membrance. The true patience is activity of faith and 
hope and righteousness in the cause of men for the 
sake of God's love of them ; is in glad proclamation 
of the gospel ; is in wielding the sword of the Truth 
of God against all that injures mankind. 

To blame God for the hard fighting He asks 
from us is unworthy of warriors ; to thank Him 
for it is to look like true men on our warfare. 
On the contrary, to have from God a hard battle 



to fight is to have a God worth serving ; not one 
who does all things for us and leaves us weak; 
not one who does not care for our progress, but who 
bids us win our spurs ; not one who makes us good 
despotically and pauperises our spirit with gifts of 
righteousness for which we do not work, but one 
who loves our individual independence as citizens of 
the heavenly kingdom and bids us win full citizen- 
ship at the point of the sword ; not one who says, 
** Labour for yourself, save your own soul," but one 
who says, " Win your victory, win union with me by 
living for men, my children, and by fighting their 
battle. Save your fellows from evil ; that is the way 
to save yourself. Die for them ; that is the way to 
attain my life." This is a God worth a woman's 
loving, worth a man's worship, honour, and battle. 
The hardships He calls us to endure in patient 
fighting are to be met and loved ; and their end is 
not a weak death by the wayside in base resignation, 
but the crown and glory of veteranship, the cross of 
honour on the breast, and the voice of Jesus crying 
in our ears, " Well done, good and faithful servant." 
This is the patience and perseverance of the soldier 
of Christ. 

(2) I need not say so much on Prayer, for all 
God's soldiers know its power. But in this warfare 
we need that which will keep our armour bright, 



and that which makes it luminous is prayer. Not 
prayer as petition, but prayer as conscious com- 
munion with our Father. It is a mighty strength 
for life, a mighty power in the soul of man to be 
able to say — ** God my Father is within me. I am 
His and He is mine. I speak with Him, He speaks 
with me." 

There is a majesty not of earth which raises 
us beyond the whole power of the world to over- 
come us. It is the majesty of knowing that we 
are walking hand in hand with immortal love and 
goodness. To be conscious of that always, to be in 
hourly speech with God, to have His thought moving 
through our thought, our love acting in His love — 
that is the prayer which needs no form of words 
nor bending of the knees, but which is the very 
breath and blood of our spiritual being. It sharpens 
the sword of the spirit ; it wings the shoes of our 
gladness in prophesying the good news of forgive- 
ness and of peace ; it knits truth closer round the 
loins of our life ; it braces the shield of faith on the 
arm ; it strengthens the breastplate of righteousness ; 
it makes the helmet of hope glitter like the sun ; and 
it doubles the dazzling brightness of them all. 

Take then prayer with you in your battle — for 
yourself as communion with God, but rarely for 
yourself as petition. Take it rather as petition for 



Others. You may easily go wrong when you ask 
for yourself. You cannot go wrong when you ask 
for others. Our armour is tenfold more effective in 
our warfare when we have forgotten our own. wants 
in passionate prayer to God to strengthen our fellow 
warriors in the fight, to bring them to peace through 
destruction of wrong. We are often happy in full 
communion with God, but I think it is when we 
have lost sight of our personal joy through all- 
absorbing sympathy for men, when our battle is not 
for our own joy but for the joy of our brothers in 
Christ Jesus, that we reach a higher happiness, a 
deeper personal communion with God. We gain it 
most when most we seem to give it up, when most 
we forget ourselves. So felt the great warrior who 
taught us to pray aright. "For their sakes," He 
cried, " I sanctify myself." 

(3) The final thing is Watchfulness, and of this 
there are many kinds. There is the watchfulness 
which, in the midst of our warfare, we keep against 
the surprises of evil. We ought to have the habit 
of sending forward certain faculties, as it were on 
the scout, to provide means of righteous action in 
the difficulties which we foresee in life. We ought 
to find out beforehand the dangers which lurk in 
matters that call for prompt decision ; we ought 
to know beforehand what enemies our duty to God 



and man may encounter, what ambush of wrong 
may lie hid in that which seems innocent. We 
ought to be prepared for quick decision, for im- 
mediate action in the battle. This is the counsel 
of Christian prudence which Jesus gave in parable 
after parable to His disciples. Watch, and be ready 
for a crisis. We know not when the days of judg- 
ment come in life, when we are called on to choose 
whom we will serve — God or Baal, man or our 
own self-interest. Make the soul ready beforehand. 

It is not that we should fall into the habit of over- 
care, so as to weight our years with self-tormenting 
dread, for that would dim the shield of faith — but 
that our loins should be always girded and our 
lights burning, so that when evil threatens suddenly, 
or God calls us to swift decision for Him, we may 
have that presence of mind, that clear sight of the 
right thing to say and do, which are the victorious 
elements in spiritual courage. This is a part of 

Another part is to set a guard over our soul 
and the powers which live within it, so as to keep 
them up to the mark. It is as if in the midst of 
the land of the inner life there rose a high watch- 
tower, and that around it lay upon the plain, in 
their encampment, the faculties and the passions, 
the fancies and moods of our character, all the 



inward army of a man — and among them the 
high powers of the soul, abiding in their tents, 
or moving through the army, commanding and 
forbidding, like wise leaders of the host. But 
one captain among them watches on the tower-top, 
and surveys the army outspread below. Some 
of our virtues may sleep too long; some of them 
may be careless of their armour ; some who are 
sentinels may dream upon their post ; some powers, 
like the appetites, may run riot and disarray 
the camp ; some, like the passions, may be seduced 
into evil ; some, like the fancies, may wander beyond 
bounds. Even the great generals — imagination, 
conscience, intelligence, love, the will — may slumber 
in their tents, or neglect to array and discipline their 
soldiers, or indulge in folly or in sin. Then from 
the tower battlement the watcher calls his warning 
note ; the army of the soul hears the call ; the 
virtues wake from sleep, the Christian graces rush 
to arms. Again the soul is disciplined, arrays itself 
for war, is set to meet the enemy. That images the 
watchfulness which should rule in every soul, the 
spirit which answers to that word of Christ — 
" Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation." 

Lastly, there is yet another watchfulness, different 
from these, more solitary, even more personal, and 
in its personal solitude more impassioned. It is 



the watchfulness, mingled of hope and faith, for that 
fair and divine land which we have not as yet seen, 
but in which we have believed, to which we sail 
through storm and calm. In the hours of the night — 
for so we image those times when apart from the 
storm of life we seem to touch the infinite, and 
look into the eyes of the perfect — in these hours 
when all is still, when the powers of the soul sleep 
like the sailors of Columbus, our watchfulness 
stands, like Columbus, on the prow of our ship of 
life, between the silent stars of the life to come and 
the silent waters of the life of earth, looking forth 
eagerly. Perhaps, when the morning rises it will 
call us to behold the glittering shores ; perhaps to 
see the ineffable dawn of our Father's land ; it may 
be to behold some new revelation of His truth, some 
livelier vision of His beauty. 

Only at intervals, when the call of daily duty is 
unheard, may we do this ; but it is part of the 
watchfulness of the soul, and it is the happy privilege 
of age. As we grow more and more old, there are 
signs which encourage this special watchfulness. 
Sometimes in the dark we " hear a singing-bird 
above the topmast tree," and in the waste of waters 
the song is full of the consolations of the land, but 
not of the lands we know. God has put a song of 
immortality into our hearts. Sometimes there passes 



by our ship of life things that have a strange and 
beautiful look, more lovely than we have yet seen — 
imaginations which come when we are alone with 
nature ; spiritual thrills of the heart which arise, 
we know not why, from common events ; moods of 
the soul which carry with them unimagined pleasures 
— things touched with a loftier spirit of love than 
prevails on earth, and which awake in us a mystic 
wonder, tell of another country and a better life, and 
are to the voyaging soul of us what the carved wood 
and the sea-weed and the branch of the unknown 
tree were to Cclumbus, as, full of faith in his idea, 
he pushed through boundless seas to his desire ; — 
messages of God to tell us that our hopes shall be 
satisfied, our stormy sailing end in peace. It is the 
picture of our Christian watchfulness in the solitary 
silences of life ; and happy are we, if, after long 
warfare, in the quiet of age we have the blessed 
visions of this watchfulness. Farewell, then, and 
take these Advent words : Watch and pray ; endure 
hardness like a good soldier of Jesus Christ ; quit 
you like men ; be strong. 




Whtftfort seiing we also are compassed about with so 
great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weighty 
and the sin that doth so easily beset us, and let us run with 
patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus. 

Hebrews, xi. i 

THE equipment of the warrior of Christ has been 
our subject and continues to be our subject 
on this the last Sunday in Advent. But though the 
subject is unchanged, the comparison employed to 
illustrate it is now different. The thing remains ; 
the aspects in which we look at it are varied. 

The writer of this book had seen the races in a 
great circus ; the runners naked or accinct for their 
running, standing eager at their line ; the cry of the 
starter was in his ears as he wrote. Then, with 
the intellectual eye, he saw the race, the desperate 
struggle at the close, the looks of the ininners fixed 
upon the goal where he sat who should allot the 
prize, the vast assemblage leaning forward. He 
knew how great was their sympathy, their cries of 
cheer, the thunder of their applause. Tier after tier 

49 D 


they rose, all watching, and in the deep summer 
haze of heat the multitude, no face being distinguish- 
able, was like a cloud of men. 

He could not see it, think of it, filled as he was 
with one thought, one passion, without comparing 
the runners to the brethren who were following 
Jesus; the seated figure over the great door to 
Jesus ; the host of spectators to the cloud of martyrs 
of whom he had spoken in the last chapter, who 
themselves luid run the race, and who now from 
the other world where they had received their crown 
looked down with cheering and with sympathy 
upon the runners on the earth. Hence sprang this 
vivid text. It speaks of patience, of endurance, 
and on these we have already dwelt. But of other 
matters also, needed for the warfare, or the race, of 
the Christian, there is question here. Who wars, 
who runs a race, must be clear of encumbrance. All 
that weighs down the body, all that besets the path 
and harasses the runner, must be got rid of. What- 
ever depresses the courage must be banished. Other- 
wise the race is heavily run, the runner loses breath 
and hope, faints, and gives up the strife. 

Temperance then, temperance, the root of training, 
is his first need. He that striveth for the mastery 
is temperate in all things. Now, temperance means 
the restriction within their own fitting limits of the 



appetites and the senses, and even more, of all the 
powers of the intellect and the soul ; the girdle round 
them which checks their excess or weakness. If any 
one of them, no matter how naturally good it be, is 
allowed by us to grow out of tempered proportion with 
the others, it prevents these from doing their just 
part in life, and it ends by tyrannising over them all. 
In the ordered republic of the soul a despotism is 
established, and the Christian life is spoiled. 

This is plain in the case of the appetites. It is 
not so plain, but it is as certain, in the case of the 
senses. Take the finest of them in their finest 
work. If the desire of gratifying ear or eye with 
beauty so increases as to disenable us, by our 
passionate pursuit of loveliness in the arts or in 
nature, from training the intellect, or, what is more 
important, from living in love among our fellow 
men; if it isolate us from the common duties of 
life ; if it make us forget the claims of the spirit, 
and the God who in us makes these claims ; — why 
then, intemperance has seized upon the senses. The 
powers of the intellect or of the spirit, the powers 
of justice and love at work for men are diseased 
from want of exercise. The man cannot run his 
race nobly or quickly. He has lost more than half 
his powers. And his punishment inevitably follows. 
He is punished by losing not only the powers he 




has neglected, but also that power which he indulged 
too much. He loses the capacity of seeing the 
true beauty. For the love of beauty — divided from 
intellectual power, without great matter of thought, 
unidealised by the spiritual and moral elements, 
isolated in itself, separated from the love of man — 
slowly corrupts into false forms and finally dies. 
That was its history in Greece ; that was its history 
in the Renaissance. It seems its history now. 

The same things are true when the powers of the 
intellect or of the spirit are intemperately exalted, 
and the other powers of the man neglected. When 
the powers of reasoning are alone trained by the 
man, they are intemperately trained. The senses 
are neglected. All that comes through their channel 
of beauty is lost. The spiritual faculties, unused, 
fall asleep. Such a man even refuses to waste his 
time on beauty, and he denies the existence of a 
spiritual life. He is but the third of a man. 

In the same way, conscience, love of morality, 
unbalanced by love of beauty or intelligence, un- 
balanced by the love of God and of all as God's 
children, becomes intolerant, cruel, fanatic, a love 
of denouncing and condemnation, ends in Phari- 
saism, or in asceticism, or in the wickedness of 
excluding the poor and sinful from the kingdom of 
of God. Such a man is maimed. 



In the same way, when the spiritual faculties 
are allowed to override the others, the evil is 
equally great. The man not only loses the use of 
the senses, he tries to destroy their powers. Not 
only does he despise his reason, he cries it down, 
he sacrifices it on God's altar, as if the repudiation 
of the reason God gives were acceptable to God. 
He, too, is maimed. He will have to get back here- 
after the powers he has thrown away. 

Intemperance, then, by abnormal development of 
any one part of our nature, has succeeded in all 
these cases in turning a complete man into only 
the third or fourth of a man ; and many are the 
instances of this among artists, among men of science 
or business, among religious or ethical persons. 

There is then within no balance and subordination 
of the human powers. There is no order, no using of 
all the faculties, each to do his own work within his 
own range, for one purpose. Harmony of the parts 
with the whole, of the whole with the parts, is not 
there. Incompleteness following on intemperance 
marks these men. 

It ought to be very different. Every power ought 
to be in full work and training — senses, intellect, 
conscience, spirit. Where it is otherwise with us, 
temperance has not ruled development. We cannot 
run then any race well, above all we cannot speed 



in the Christian race. We run, but being all on 
one side we run off the course. At last we stumble, 
over-weighted in one part, and cannot get up again 
till we have set to work the neglected powers of 
our being. Then our equilibrium is restored, and 
again we take up the race. But what a long time 
we have lost I O, be temperate in all things, most 
of all in the development of your good powers. For 
they, intemperately worked, to the neglect of the 
other powers of human nature, pass out of the 
limits of good into evil, or into the borderland of 

This is the first and general need of the Christian 
race — temperate training of all our powers. What 
follows is more particular. We are to lay aside 
every weight. No runner carries heavy dress, orna- 
ments, things which hamper the free movement of 
his limbs; and of such burdens there are many in 
this world. The first I think of lies on the shoulders 
of a large class in our society — the weight of a too 
comfortable life. Comfort is good in itself, but 
when it is sought and loved as the foremost thing, it 
presses the soul to earth. Men lose in it the desire 
of progress ; the pursuing passion for ideas ; the hopes 
that urged, the faith that inspired, their youth ; 
the thoughts that wander through eternity. Satisfied, 
they strive, they run, no more ; they hear no more 



the voice of Jesus, " Follow me. Be ye perfect as 
your Father in heaven is perfect." 

They hear no more the cries of their brothers caught 
in the nets of misery : " Help us, we are perishing." 
The curtains of their comfort are fast drawn ; they sit 
at home, wrapt in family ease. Outside, the sleet is 
falling, the bitter wind is blowing, thousands of the 
children of sorrow are dying in the fierce weather. 
God Himself is knocking at the door, calling, "Come 
forth and seek the lost with Jesus.*' We hear nothing ; 
the cotton of comfort stops our ears. For a time, till 
God Himself breaks in on us with storm, and disperses 
our comfort to the winds, we can run no Christian 
race. It is not poverty, or difficulty, which disables 
us ; far more is it ease. There was a truth in that 
which Gray said in his Elegy : 

Chill Penury repressed their noble rage 
And froze the genial current of the soul ; 

but it is not penury which does this work the most. 
It is the opposite of penury. Therefore, lay aside, 
not all comfort — men have a right to that — but that 
excess of it which softens and enfeebles the soul ; 
which sends to sleep the longing for God's perfec- 
tion; which makes our life too slothful to follow 
Christ, the Healer of the world. 

Another weight is the cares of life. We keep so 



many which we might shake off, that it is more 
than pitiful. We encourage fears for our life, our 
future, our wealth, till all our days are harassed 
out of peace, till the very notion of trust in God is 
an absurdity. We waste life away in petty details, 
spending infinite trouble on transient things, mag- 
nifying the gnats of life into elephants, tormenting 
ourselves and others over household disturbances, 
children, servants, little losses, foolish presentiments, 
our state of health, our finances — till every one 
around us is infected with our disease of fret and 
worry. This is indeed to weight our soul. Our 
life with God, our work for man, are dragged to 
earth. We creep, we do not run, to meet our 
Master Jesus. 

One thing is needful, Christ said, and that one 
thing is Love. But this dreary anxiety which has 
mastered us is love of self, not of God or man. It 
feeds our desire to love ourselves ; it strangles our 
desire to love others. Thinking so much of our 
own cares, how can we think of the cares of others ? 
Indeed, our selfish temper adds a new burden to the 
lives of our household, of our friends. We are not 
satisfied, in our greedy selfishness, till we have 
hampered all our little world with our wailings, with 
our demands for sympathy. It is hard to con- 
quer this temper, one of the hardest things in the 



world. But if we wish to run after Christ Jesus it 
must be conquered. 

Again, these are things that are seen of men, 
they lie on the outside ; but within, in the secret 
soul, carefully hidden from men — what do you keep 
which weighs down your activity for God, which 
checks your feet when you wish to help mankind as 
Jesus helped them ? Small and petty jealousies 
which gnaw away your high endeavour, which eat 
the heart out of your ideals and make mean your 
imagination; dog-faced memories of injuries done 
to you ; monkey vanities which tell you hour by 
hour that you are not appreciated at your full value ; 
foolish fancies, decked, like the jay, in borrowed 
plumes, which you know you never will attain ; self- 
deceits which cheat you into following them, till 
you are lost in a morass of disappointment or of 
shame ; hatreds, envies, false ambitions, ill thoughts 
that cluster round forbidden food, like flies round 
poison — all silent, all unknown to others, hid in 
the locked chambers of the heart, and only God 
aware of them-^what of these ? Is there any- 
thing which more burdens the Christian runner? 
Were they known, could you speak them, they 
would die ; you would be ashamed to keep them 
for a moment. But cherished as they are, like 
vipers in a blanket, they go with you everywhere ! 



When you walk the streets, they are there ; when 
you lie down at night, there they are. Even in 
your dreams they are your companions. They rise 
and mock at you at your work, they attend you into 
society. They master and enslave the soul. 

They must be banished. Kill them by a fierce 
anger with them, starve them out by giving them 
no food. Fling them off the shoulders of your life ; 
fling them off your heart. Else they will weight 
you so dreadfully, that running the race, looking 
unto Jesus, will be for years impossible to you. 
It would be shameful if only death could emanci- 
pate you from these secret shames. Not even death 
can do it. Only, after death, your own will, inhabited 
by the will of God, armed from head to foot with the 
armour of God, can free you in a desperate battle 
from these elfish evils. It would be pitiable to take 
them with you into that other world. Lay them 
aside, and it will seem to you, as you run, as if you 
had cast a mountain from your heart. 

These are some of the weights of the race, and 
perhaps the worst of them. 

There is one thing more the writer calls on us to 
abandon — " the sin which easily besets us " ; not the 
sins of old, before we joined the race. We are 
supposed to have abandoned these already ; but the 
pleasant little evil we have kept ; which was part of 



our very being; so natural to us that we have 
scarcely thought it sin, that we have often thought 
it good ; which we have excused because it was so 
like a good thing ; which always comes to our mind 
when we are alone ; to which, when it tempts us, 
we yield at once ; the habit of years, which to do 
is like eating and drinking ; which takes a thousand 
disguises, and is our boon companion whenever we 
are in good health and happy — the sin which doth 
so easily beset us. 

We have not been left unwarned of it. Again 
and again we have found it out. We have been 
shocked, when its mask has fallen, to see its ugliness, 
we have eaten its fruits and found them bitter. 
But again and again we have shut our eyes; or 
forgotten, when it came back in its dainty dress, 
that it ever showed so basely. It will not do to 
keep it. It will grow till it infect your character 
with creeping disease, your work with the trouble 
of conscious inability. And to get rid of the trouble 
you will cease to strive with it and become its slave. 
Moreover, it will introduce the old sins again, for no 
one sin ever remains singular. It is ill at ease till it 
have its ancient companions ; and some unhappy day 
the traitor will open the gates of your soul, and before 
you know what has happened, your life will be devas- 
tated by guilt which you thought impossible. To 



dismiss this intimate foe takes resolute uprooting, 
but with the grace of God, and bitter prayer, with 
long-enduring fortitude, the soul is capable of 
desperate effort. ** I can do all things," say to 
yourself and act your saying — " through Christ that 
strengtheneth me." 

And now, after the struggle for temperance, 
and the strife in which you have cast away the 
weights, and the pain with which you have slain the 
sin so dear to you — there comes, to comfort and 
to heal you, the joyous sense of a fresh swift- 
ness in life, the lightness, the buoyancy of the soul. 
It is the first of the three great motives of which 
the writer thinks, which urge and, as they urge, 
rejoice the Christian runner. Many are the joys of 
life, but few are greater than this. It is the joy 
of the earth freed from the strangling grasp of 
winter; it is the joy of a nation set free from 
slavery ; it is the joy of a man when he feels that 
disease has gone out of his body. All things 
are now done with new delight ; . purer thoughts 
make quicker acts; the rush of emotion towards 
God and man is restored ; we lose ourselves, and 
then the soul runs like an antelope to God. It is 
pleasure to feel girt up for the race, weightless, in 
full possession of the strength of virtues; able to 

use the grace of God ; able with undimmed eyes to 



see the footsteps of Jesus and to follow them ; able, 
whenever a new temptation comes of the old sin, 
whenever ease threatens to enfeeble, or cares to 
torment, or miserable hauntings of self to burden 
life, to shake them off with quickness. The habit 
of freeing oneself easily from wrong has been gained, 
and once gained we do not lose it. It is wonderful 

This is the first fruit of our victory, a joyous free- 
dom in righteousness. But bitter days may come. 
We are called to bear the cross, and it seems heavy 
on the shoulder. Then it is lawful to urge our race 
with another motive. When the path we go is 
rugged, when pain runs with us hand in hand, 
we may seek our comfort where our Master sought 
it, in the expectation of the Paradise of God — " Who 
for th€ joy that was set before Him, endured the 
cross, despising the shame ! " Not always is that 
looking forward lawful, lest w^e should forget in 
contemplation the daily labour of the race ; but in 
our bitter days it is an impulse of strength and 
life. The soul springs under it like a ship before 
a joyous wind. The pain of earth disappears ; the 
cross is blest which has brought to us that vision. 
Then, strange but delightful miracle of God ! the 
pain becomes an element of strength and speed. 

Many have known that truth ; many have felt the 



suffering of the Christian race changed into a steady 

rapture, in which they were borne above the world 

as on the wings of angels into the joy which is set 

before them. 

It is another fruit of our victory, another motive 

of the race. The last motive is not less uplifting, 

and it is part of the second. We become conscious 

of the sympathy of heaven with earth. We feel 

ourselves part of the mighty army of the saints 

who have conquered and who are now at rest. 

Not only the Church of the present is with us, 

but the innumerable assembly of the just made 

perfect in the past. Inspiring, kindling, consoling, 

cheering, sympathising voices are in our ears. 

" Well done," we hear, " good and faithful servant." 

All around us they sit, in the vast amphitheatre of 

the spiritual world, tier on tier of watching figures, 

pitying and applauding; solemn, beautiful faces, 

shining with the light of discovered truth and 

accomplished love, and in infinite peace — our 

brothers and sisters of whose divine assemblage 

we shall one day form a part ; and among them, in 

highest place, with that unutterable love upon His 

countenance which drew all humanity, in whose 

soft ardours all the others shine, to whom all turn 

with reverence their look, to whom we now look 

with eager longing, awe and love — Jesus, the 



beginner and perfecter of our faith, the leader oi 
the humanity in whose cause He died, who ran the 
race we run, who found His goal in the Father in 
whom we too shall find our rest. This is the 
inspiring vision that we see, and nothing in the 
whole universe can excel its majesty but the reality 
of the vision itself. Wherefore seeing we are com- 
passed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, 
let us run with patience the race that is set before 
us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of 
our faith. 





Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within 
me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, my soul, and 
forget not all his benefits; who forgiveth all thine iniqui- 
ties ; who healeth all thy diseases ; who redeemeth thy life 
from destruction ; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness 
and tender mercies ; who satisfieth thy mouth with good 
things, so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. 

Psalm ciii. 1-5 

WHEN we look backward, young or old, on all 
the days we have lived through, on the 
years which image in their seasons our little life 
from the springtide of youth to the winter of age, it 
is hard to avoid asking ourselves the question : 
" What have we lost, what have we gained in the 
years gone by ? " 

What we have lost we know too well ; what we 
have gained we do not know so well. It has not 
as yet stood the test of life. Only when the 
strife has proved our new tools shall we know 
whether we have them, or have but seemed to have 




Yet, when we look back, we are ready to say that 
we have gained much. We have got a keener in- 
sight into our business, and can do it more quickly 
and more profitably. We know more of the best 
ways to get on in our profession. We have en- 
larged our sphere of action in politics. We have 
read and experimented so much that our knowledge 
of the science we follow is largely increased. Our 
hand is quicker as an artist, and our pen more ready 
as a writer. The whole business of life is easier. 
Yes, we have gained much, and it is not to be denied 
that this is gain. But is that enough? Are we 
satisfied ? Is it sufficient to be a good machine ? 
Is the outward all we care for ? Is the business of 
life and the doing of it all in all ? Unless there is 
something more, will even the business continue to 
be well done ? 

For my part, I believe that unless the spiritual 
and the imaginative are developed in us, unless 
these parts of our nature which do not directly 
influence our worldly life are also trained to reach 
their full development, nothing we do, not even 
business, is done as well as it might be done. 
Certainly, worldly success alone leaves a man in- 
complete. If the life of the soul, of the vital being 
at the root of all outward life, has not also gained 
new means of living, we are not much better than 



excellent machines, able to work but unable to 
originate new work. 

The being that we bring into the movement of 
mankind ; the character we build within and shape 
into outward act ; the ideas we have gained as the 
abiding motives of life ; the emotions which flow 
from those ideas and the powers by which they urge 
us ; the principles which in the conscience have 
become moral passions ; the way in which we have 
assimilated and transformed into our own person- 
ality all we have learnt, all that circumstance has 
brought us ; the capacities within, by which we throw 
into form all we believe, admire, hope, imagine, and 
love ; the motives by which we determine the paths 
which, out of many presented to us, we will take in 
business, in politics, in science and in art — these are 
of infinitely more importance to us than all that we 
have gained in our business, than all the knowledge 
we have stored up, than all the systems of religion, 
philosophy and science that we have mastered. 

Again, from what we have learnt and experienced 
we have made the tools of life. It was needful that 
we should forge them and possess them. But how 
we are using them, what we are doing with them, 
whether they are doing work by which man will be 
blessed or cursed, and we ourselves ennobled or 
degraded, depends on what we are within ; on all 



that makes up character; on the ideas, motives, 
faiths, and hopes who sit as kings and queens and 
counsellors in our soul, and command and forbid, 
organise and think, feel and imagine, in its chambers. 

That is the important, that the vital matter ; and 
I counsel you to take stock of your soul, to ask 
yourself — What am I within? The best way to 
answer that question is to ask another — What have 
we done for our fellow men ? That is the right 
glass with which we may look at ourselves. Whom 
have we blessed, whom have we helped, whom have 
we comforted ? Is the world the better for our lives ? 
Has that weary giant gained from our work a little 
rest, a little consolation, a little gaiety, a little more 
of gentle laughter, a little less of bitter tears ? 

If you have only attended to your own business 

or knowledge, if your ambition or success has been 

all in all to you, you cannot have done anything for 

sorrow-laden humanity. Selfishness never helped 

one human being a single step upon his way ; nay, 

its certain result is to beat back or to maim some 

of our fellow men. If it rule your inward life the 

first question is easily answered. Your spiritual 

life has gained nothing, and everything you have 

gained in your outward life by merely selfish effort 

is loss and ruin to your real life. 

But if business and knowledge have been second ; 



if, while they are pursued, they are pursued under 
the rule of love ; if their work is overmastered in 
its direction and in its impulse by justice, pity and 
truth ; if man is more to you than yourself, and God 
is to you seen in man — your gain has then been 
infinite. The Spirit of God is in you, for His Spirit 
is Love. That is begun in you which must develop 
for ever. You do not look forward to, you have, 
immortal life. And that inward life is a fountain 
whose waters, clear, sweet, and refreshing, will flow 
through all the years to come and all their work in 
blessing and comfort to mankind. Nor will you 
lose the blessing and the comfort of having loved. 
Your soul will not be filled with pictures of yourself, 
nor with the music of your own successes in the 
world, pictures and music which will sicken you to 
look on when age drives you to live within. It 
will be filled with pictures of the homes you have 
blessed, the lives you have saved, the peace and joy 
that you have brought to the restless and the broken- 
hearted. Its music will be the laughter of men, 
women and children whom you have made happy. 
The trumpets of the great causes you have helped 
will blow their marches in your heart. Often you 
will hear clear, but as if over far-off waters, the 
ineffable tune of the movement of the human race 
marching to God's righteousness, the music of 



the whole universe as it moves in the love of 

O happiness, if in even the smallest way we can 
look back and say with humility, but yet with 
certainty, because love always knows itself, ** I have 
won more of love ; my Master in me is the same 
Love which thrilled through Jesus Christ ; the im- 
pulse of my soul is tenderness ; the desire of my 
life, my very life itself, is self-sacrifice ; my aspira- 
tion is to love more and more ; everything in my 
outward life shall bow to love's demands ; I know 
now what the Lover of the human race meant when 
He said, ' I am come that ye might have life, and 
that ye might have it more abundantly.' " 

And now, having looked back, let us also look 
forward, but with the same thoughts in our hearts. 
What shall we gain, what shall be our fate in the 
years to come ? With what thoughts shall youth, 
and manhood, and age welcome the future ? 

Some of you who are young are but beginning 

life. How will you live it ; what shall be its means 

and motives ? That is the gravest question as 

you look forward over the unvoyaged sea of the 

years to come. And we, who are older, are glad to 

welcome you as you come out of the harbour of 

home into the tumbling billows of the main. For 

many years now we have sailed the seas of life, and 



our ships have been driven to various shores and 
troubled with the siege of storms, and seen strange 
islands and strange adventures in diverse seas, from 
arctic unto tropic ; change and interchange of watch- 
ing and labour and rest. Sunshine and shadow is 
life ; but yet the rough sailing has been better than 
anchorage in a stagnant calm. Movement and 
passion have been our comrades ; trouble that rushed 
into joy, joy that prophesied sorrow and fulfilled the 
prophecy; darkness that sunlight of a new dawn 
divided ; rest that the labour of the tempest rescued 
from sloth ; steady steering in the gale, to keep which 
true every power was tested to the last resistance ; 
sweet harbourage where we refitted our ship and 
heard, when all had been done which was needful, 
the singing of the land-wind in the tree tops which 
called us to hoist sail for a new voyage, and which 
to hear filled us with joy. This has been ours, and 
to this — to life with all its change — we welcome you. 
Your ships are lying ready for the out-path. All 
is done you can do in the way of preparation. One 
part of youth is closed, and a whole unknown lies 
outspread before you. Knowledge has furnished 
you for the voyage ; the experience of others is in 
your head ; those you love have trimmed your vessel 
as they can ; the sails are hoist and eager for the 
sea, and the wind favouring as it favours youth. 



It ought to be a joyous hour. Take God your 
Father with you, and since you are bright and 
happy, take Him with you by thankfulness and 
praise. Praise Him, for He has given you keen 
life, the spirit of discovery, and the passion for 
truth ; Hope who stands on the prow, Faith who 
grasps the helm, the enkindled crew of high thoughts 
and noble emotions which should man your ship on 
its way to help and save the lost. 

And now we join you in your praise to God. 
Together, we praise Him that He has put that desire 
to save and bless our fellows, who are labouring 
in the seas, deep into our heart — the first and fore- 
most object of our lifers sailing. We praise Him 
for the world of interest and work in which we live, 
for the struggle which calls upon our powers, for the 
storms which make us veterans of the sea of life, 
for the humanity among whom we labour, and for 
the love of men which we shall win by saving and 
by helping them. 

But praise is not enough. Those of us who have 
for a long time wandered over the ocean, and those 
who are but beginning their wandering, must add to 
the power and joyfulness of praise the power and 
quietude of prayer. We look forward, and experi- 
ence makes our outlook graver than that of youth. 
Youth looks forward also, and the unknown brings 



dim presentiments of trouble. What will have been, 
we think, when a few more years have passed away ? 
How will our ships be then ? What lands shall we 
have visited, what new tribes of men ? Shall we have 
helped to civilise these unknown fields of labour ? 
Shall we have brought comfort and love to their 
indwellers ? Will God have enabled us, who now 
know our weakness, to bring to them wiser ways 
and larger hopes ? What stars will have gone out 
in our sky, what stars will have been born for us ? 
Will our heavens be the old heavens or the new ? 
Shall God be felt behind them, or will despair over- 
cloud them ? What storms shall we have battled 
through ; or shall our barks be shattered, or sink 
with a cry in the silent night? How many 
shipwrecked crews and desolate wanderers shall 
we have rescued on the ocean, or shall the 
lust of our own desire have deafened our ears to 
the cries of men ? How much shall we have 
gained for the Master of mankind by our trading, 
or shall we have sailed only for our own gain ? 
O, in the perilous sea of life, what lies before us ! 
When we come into the port of death, what will 
be the judgment which the Harbour-Master will 
pronounce ? 

When we think thus and realise our own weak- 
ness, knowing our temptations and trembling fo 



our fortitude^ we know that we must kneel and pray 
as we look forward ; that it is the time to throw our- 
selves upon the strength of God and claim it as 
our own ; to grasp firmly our faith in Him in whose 
love all conquest lies, in whose faithfulness to us 
all storms but bring us peace, in whose love to 
mankind all our work is contained and fortified, in 
whom death is the hour of our greatest victory. 
Therefore we count not to have attained ; therefore 
we pray to-day — " Father and Redeemer, dwell 
within our ship of life ; be our light and life and 
strength and comfort. Enable us in the tempest, 
keep us humble in the sunny calm ; fill our sails 
with the wind of Thy inspiration ; be in us courage 
and fortitude, watchfulness and prudence; be our 
voice when we call to men and speak our truth ; be 
our heart to love them. Keep us always in Thy 
love, give us joy in Thy presence ; lift us above the 
spirit of self ; let earthly success be nothing in com- 
parison with Thy truth, with our truth to Thy 
righteousness. Teach us to live always close to 
men Thy children, and to love them to the end. In 
every hour of our voyage may we do the work 
Thou hast given us to do, and when the ship in 
which we sail sees at last the shining haven and 
crosses the stormy bar, grant that with our Captain 

Jesus we may cry above the whelming wave of 



death, "It is finished. Father, into Thy hands I 
commend my spirit." 

It is chiefly thus that middle-age looks out over the 
undiscovered seas in fervent prayer to God ; for we 
know that life, if we are true to God, must be full of 
storm and strife. Yet there are days when the 
tempest rests, and then, in the moment of peace 
and repose, when we feel that we have conquered 
in the gale, how deep and fervent, yet how silent, is 
our praise of God our King ; how well we know, 
and how steady in the knowledge is our thanksgiving, 
that He has done the right thing for us in sending us 
through the storm, in putting arms into His seamens' 
hands and saying, ''Fight manfully, sail boldly, 
even unto death. If you help yourself as a freeman I 
will be with you.'' So passes on our life, and, strange 
enough, as we grow older and decay is nearer, these 
hours of praise become more frequent, and the hours 
when we need prayer less frequent ; till at last, if we 
have been true sailors under the flag of Love, the 
day comes when prayer is lost in praise, when the 
temper of youth again is ours, and in the joyous- 
ness of thanksgiving we live through the fading of 
old age. 

It is that quiet and happy time to which those 
who are growing old may now look forward ; in 
which those already old may now abide. The 



voyages are over ; we are no longer called on to 
tempt the seas. We let our anchor drop in the 
glassy haven, under the hornH cliffs; and if at 
times we hear the storm blow and the sea thunder 
far away, it ruffles no wave in our sunny fiord and 
we smile as we say, ** That is over now. I have 
had my day, but now the eventide and calm are dear. 
Soon, in a new ship of youth, I shall begin another 
life where the tempest is unknown. Meanwhile I 
wait the change, not uncheered by visions of what 
is to be. For, indeed, the heavenly country lies 
close at hand, under the lee, as I ride to anchor. I 
see the trees of life that fringe its cliffs. Often I 
catch sight of its bright indwellers and hear their 
songs. The living odours and the sounds of its 
waters are blown upon my spirit, and I breathe the 
immortal airs. At times, above the belt of wood, 
the ineffable light of perfect Love shoots like a 
thought of God. It is not hope I have, but cer- 

So many an old man speaks, lying in the calm. 
It is the happiness of age, and out of it rises the 
incense of unspeakable praise. Prayer is no more 
needed, it is all changed into thanksgiving. Then, 
at last, the old sea-warrior sees his Easter day. 
The dawn breaks, the stars of earth die out. The sun 

of universal Love arises, all his trumpets sounding. 



God opens the perfect peace, the fulness of joy that 
radiates from righteousness, the creative life that 
Love makes and remakes for ever. Therefore, bless 
the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless 
His holy name. 





Who is weak, and I am not weak ? who is offended, 
and I bum not ? 

2 Corinthians, xi. 29 

WHEN you heard read to-day this chapter 
from St. Paul's second Epistle to the 
Corinthians, did it not strike you what an impas- 
sioned creature he was ; and how little the quiet 
philosophers of his time would think of a letter 
so full, as they would say, of personal imprudence, 
of swift self-defence, of unregulated fire ? " This 
man," I hear the solemn Rabbis crying, ^[ has lost his 
head ; " and the academies of the day, if they had 
read the letter, would have tossed it aside, as Ox- 
ford, Dublin and Cambridge would despise it, were 
it issued now. "This kind of writing, without 
balance or care, in bad Greek, unliterary, quite 
formless, intemperate from excitement — is quite 
impermanent ; " so utterly unable is a culture which 
is decaying, and which thinks in its senile vanity 
that its absence of passion is its highest power, to 



comprehend new ideas, or the energy they awaken, 
or the vast career before them. 

When the new ideas which move the world are 
well established, the form men give them matters 
much ; but when they are young and flaming, their 
foEm is of little importance. In fact, they first 
appear in many different shapes, none of which are 
well made, and all of which are waiting to mingle 
together into the finished form mankind can best 
and most wisely use. But, nevertheless, their beauty 
and strength burst through their ragged clothing; 
and those who express them never pause to weigh 
what they say, or how they say it. They are too 
exalted by the ideas. They have lost themselves 
in love of that they speak, and that of which they 
speak is love. Yes, is love ; for every impassion- 
ating idea in religion and in morals has its source 
and its end in the desire to better the life of man, 
to bring him nearer to perfection in God, if we 
believe in God the Father ; in himself, if we only 
believe in man. Both forms of the desire, at their 
root, are part of that divine Gospel which in a 
thousand ways declares that the only enduring life 
of man is in loving one another ; or, to put it in 
another fashion, in living for those noble ideas and 
the great human causes which are their forms, by 
whose incessantly acting powers the race of man is 



urged into a life in which love is the master of 
every thought and every act. This was the foun- 
tain which sprang up in the heart of St. Paul. This 
made him yearn to redeem every man, woman and 
child he met ; the archetype of this life he loved in 
Jesus Christ from whom it poured into his heart ; 
this filled him with self-forgetful love ; and this was 
the life-blood of his message, the fire of his life. 
It made him simple and passionate. No one can 
imagine how intensely love and desire burned in 
St. Paul as he entered Philippi, Lystra, Corinth, or 
Rome. It was a passion which made his work per- 
manent, which gives it power now though centuries 
have passed away. And this was the cause why it 
did not matter a straw whether all the cultivated 
world thought he had lost his head. That world 
was dying of old age. St. Paul's world was as young 
as Apollo when first he opened his eyes at Delos. 

Now, let me put the same thing in another 
fashion. Did it strike you, when you heard that 
ardent appeal, how curious it was that letters 
written in this sudden, impulsive, unreflecting way, 
at a single jet, without correction, sent off while 
their ink was still wet, broken up with half-thoughts 
— things half begun or half finished just as phrases 
are in conversation — letters not composed for the 
future in a philosopher's study, but striking hard at 



the present moment, and full of the agitations, pre- 
occupations and strifes of the passing day ; letters 
brimming with himself, with his love, his reproach, 
his sweetness of affection, his ideality ; and yet still 
more, full of the wants and woes and goodness and 
badness of those to whom he writes, so that even in 
his most personal statements, as in this chapter, we 
think more of the cause on behalf of which he 
writes than of himself; letters of occasion as I 
might call them — did it not strike you, how curious 
it was that letters of such a type should have had 
so mighty an influence on the heart of man, and 
beyond man's heart on his intellect — for indeed some 
of the mightiest monuments of the work of the 
human mind start from these momentary letters of 
St. Paul ? Did that not strike you ? One would 
say that they would be quite as ephemeral as ser- 
mons, and yet they have lasted more than 1800 
years, and their kindling power is undiminished. 

Well, one thing which has given them this long 
life was just this personality in them. There lives 
and moves the man, emerging clear ; we see down to 
the bottom of his soul. As he writes we hear him, 
as it were, talking to his most intimate friends. It 
is impossible to get nearer to a man than we get to 
St. Paul ; and a revelation of that kind is of undy- 
ing interest to men, whenever that which we see is 



loving, is a revelation not of selfishness, but of self- 
forgetfulness. The Apostle could not have made 
himself so vivid had he been thinking of himself. 
Pride, vanity, prudence would have checked or modi- 
fied his statements, and spoiled the lucidity of the 
image he has left. But he was carried away by his 
love and his ideas, and he opened like a fan. And 
what we see is not the man thinking about himself, 
or analysing his feelings, or careful to display his 
heart in a fine light, but a man who is not thinking 
about himself at all ; only about his cause. Even 
in this impassioned self-defence, it is plain that he 
is defending his own equality with the rest of the 
Apostles solely because its depreciation by others 
endangered the ideas for which he lived, and which 
he thought, and justly thought, were necessary for 
the welfare of the faith of Christ. When he seems 
to a blinded reader most full of himself, it is for the 
sake of others. And it is because this revelation 
of personality has its root thus in love of true and 
high conceptions, and of men, that it has retained 
its charm for centuries. Nothing endures which is 
not rooted in Love, not even vigorous personality. 

Another reason for their lasting follows on what 
I have said ; it is their humanity. Having lost him- 
self, Paul found himself again in his people. The 
letters are crowded with all the human doings and 



thinkings of the Corinthians. He rejoices over them 
and weeps over them ; he blames them and makes 
excuses for them. At a distance from them, he 
seems to be sitting amongst them, so entirely has 
he projected himself outside of himself. Every 
Corinthian, as he heard the letter read, must have 
felt the writer by his side, and said to himself: " See 
how he loves us, knows us ! How keen he is 1 
Why, the smallest thing about us interests him." 

This nearness to all that is human is one of the 
permanent elements in all that is done and thought 
and written. Where that is, there is no age and 
no decay. The dawn itself is not fresher nor more 
immortal. Moreover, such humanity cannot be 
without love, and love is always young ; no custom, 
no lapse of years can stale the pleasure that it gives. 
Here we stand in a changed world, wrought by 
science, law, literature, invention, into a condition in 
which St. Paul would be as great a stranger as the 
Corinthians to whom he wrote ; but the charm, the 
life, the tenderness of his letter are as fresh and 
keen to us as they were to the Corinthians. No 
wonder! it has the. humanity by which all writings 
live and win the affections of mankind. 

There is yet another element of continuance. 

Personality, humanity, make writings live. But in 

order to lift them to the highest level of enduring- 



ness, there must be, behind the personal and human 
elements, one or two great aims^ founded on a pure 
love, and on high thoughts which bear on the in- 
terest and welfare of the universal soul of man, and 
which are everywhere and at all times needful for 
its health and progress. St. Paul had such a single 
aim, and he sacrificed his whole life on its altar. 
Underneath all he did, and thrilling through every 
letter he wrote, and I doubt not through every speech 
he made, there was the impassioned desire to set 
free through Christ the human soul from all its 
oppressions. Inward liberty, that was his aim ; 
and that the form into which he threw the still 
mightier thought of the unity of the soul of Man 
with God. 

He saw the tyranny of sin, of the false passions, 
of man's own selfish will by which man enslaved 
himself. " Serve the love of God," he cried ; " live 
in Christ, and these oppressors are no more." He 
saw and hated the tyranny of the intellect in 
spiritual things. All belief and practice must be 
formulated into intellectual propositions; the out- 
goings of the heart settled into a creed ; the indi- 
vidual feelings of different men tied up into bundles 
of the same shape, embodied in the same ritual ; 
Roman bound to think the same way about God as 

Greek, Greek forced to say the same as Syrian, Syrian 



to speak the same language as Alexandrian, and all 
the same as the Jew. '* Let the soul/* said St. Paul, 
" be free to make its own form, whether of creed or 
ritual. Be not bewitched with this lying trickery. 
Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made 
you free. There is nothing needful but love of the 
Father, and love of men, the children of the Father." 
With that love in the heart, every man may 
make his own form, his own creed. In Christ 
there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, 
male nor female; no exclusive doctrines or rites 
such as divide men into sects. In him there 
is only the unlimited spirit of love, which freely 
formulates truth for itself. Even when St. Paul 
wrote the Epistle to the Romans, and was betrayed 
into using intellectual formulas, and handed down 
therewith a grievous heritage to the Churches, there 
rises continually, after or among the arguments, his 
revolt from the limiting impertinence of the reason- 
ing intellect, whenever it desires to imprison or to 
comprehend in argumentative propositions the in- 
finite of Love and Faith. His feeling sweeps him 
beyond his arguments. It is as if he were sick of 
chopping logic — and indeed he was not fit for it. 
You remember how, after the long and barren dis- 
cussion of the ninth, tenth, and eleventh chapters 
of the Roman Epistle, he settles the whole matter by 



an outburst of emotion. He sees the infinitude of 
God's love, and forgets all the to-and-fro of his 
theological arguments. He suddenly proclaims a 
universal salvation, and his whole style changes 
into passion. " God hath concluded all in unbelief 
that He might have mercy upon all. O the depth 
of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of 
God ; how unsearchable are His judgments, and His 
ways past finding out I For of Him and through 
Him and to Him are all things. Glory to Him for 
ever. Amen." That, at least, was the action of the 
life of the Apostle. And I still hope that he wrote 
the Epistle to the Ephesians, because its amazing 
difference from the Epistle to the Romans shows 
that, at varied times of his life, he felt free to 
express himself in shades of thought, as diverse as 
they were ardent. 

He saw again, the tyranny of the ritualistic law, 
and this was what came chiefly before him; the 
attempt of the Jewish Christians to impose on the 
Gentiles the weight and yoke of ceremonies without 
the observance of which men could not be saved — 
a dreadful tyranny which has lasted to this day in 
various forms. Even now mankind suffers from its 
curse whenever a Church or sect declares that 
unless men accept their ritual and its belief, they 
cannot be of God, they cannot be saved. This 



smote at the root of St. Paul's essential idea — the 
freedom of the human soul before God. '' This is 
a lie," he cried. " Not by anything outside, but by 
the faith within him does a man live, is he justified 
before God ; " and the words, in a thousand different 
relations, have been the charter of that liberty of 
the soul which has been contended for in politics, 
in art, in literature as well as in religion, all over 
the world. 

This universal aim of his, this oneness of purpose ; 
this master-thought into which ran up all the other 
thoughts of his life ; this idea which became in his 
hands a living being with a voice of joy, and which 
is as necessary for the whole of the human race as 
light and air — ^this it is, which, pouring its power 
into his personal passion and his intense humanity, 
has given to his writings their certainty of enduring, 
and their universal power. There is no future time 
in which this idea of the freedom of the soul in indi- 
vidual touch with God will not claim the interest 
and kindle the imagination of the human race ! 

To set free the soul ! Whatever be the faults of 
Free Churches, and they are many, their steady 
effort (both in our own land and abroad) to keep the 
soul free in spiritual matters, has been their excel- 
lence. It lies at the very foundation of their organ- 
isation. For its sake they have set aside creeds, 



formulas, every intellectual proposition which limits 
or circumscribes the indi\4dual outgoings of the soul 
to God the Father. They have lost in doing this 
many human advantages, but they have gained the 
greatest good — the freedom of the soul to love God 
and Man in its own way, to make its own form of 
faitb and worship for itself. In this they are far 
nearer to Christ than any Church or sect which is 
hampered with fixed creeds and rigid ritual; or 
which threatens loss of salvation to those who will 
not confess the creeds or accept the ritual — far closer 
to the central thought of the soul of Jesus ; more 
able, if they only loved more, to do His work in His 
own way. It is true such Churches have been often 
betrayed, like St. Paul, into too intellectual, too 
argumentative, too controversial a religion ; but that 
will pass as time goes on, when they are less forced 
to stand on their defence. But the root of the 
matter is in them, the freedom of the soul to form 
in love its own worship and its own faith towards 
God the Father. This was the idea of Jesus ; and 
in carrying it out, He broke loose from the accredited 
Church and theology of His day, and went to war 
with them. And this is the great trust committed 
to our hands; and it calls on all of us to walk 
worthy of our vocation, to keep the freedom of the 
soul in obedience to the law of love. 



. I said that St. Paul had not only one great aim or 
cause, but also that he kindled its movements by a 
profound love ; and this love, as well as his devotion 
to his idea, gave his work permanence. High aims 
for noble causes are apt, in our wearied lives, to 
thin out of action, unless they are animated by a 
strong and tender human love. We need to have 
ideas humanised, if we are to be constant to and 
steadfast in them. 

Such a love was at the root of St. Paul's life. 
Deeper, stronger than any other element in his 
writings is his vital love of Jesus Christ; deeper 
far than any earthly love, because the object of it, 
though living with him and in the world, was yet 
beyond the love of eye and ear and touch — the 
noblest, the most fruitful kind of love ; because, 
being of a spirit to a spirit, it could not play with 

This was the human element of immortal emotion 
which pervaded, as light pervades the universe, the 
heart of St. Paul ; warming into vital movement all 
he thought and all he felt ; kindling him into undy- 
ing aspiration ; bearing him on from town to town 
over the Roman world ; building church after 
church ; and making every idea he possessed, and 
chiefly this freedom of the soul, not an abstract 
thought but a passionate pursuit — nay, more, a 



living being, with voice, and eyes, and hands and 
feet. It embodied every idea he possessed in the 
person of Jesus, the Master of Love, the Revealer of 
Life. To me, he cried, to live is Christ. ^ 

It is this I recommend to you. It is the tendency 
of some theorists at present to put Jesus and His 
life into the background ; to imagine that we can 
have a religion which will continuously move the 
world of men without a human master, whose life 
not only kindles human emotion round human life, 
but also fills the aspirations of our soul with the 
belief that they have been accomplished by one of 
ourselves, in humanity. There are those who think 
that the vast conception of the Father is enough for 
life without the conception of a human life in which 
all that the Father conceived for man was realised 
on earth to claim our love. I do not believe it. 
Were it so, God Himself would have thought so. 
But He did not. When man was educated by God 
to the point where he could see greater truths, God 
gave the world Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Man, 
that we might know what Love was in humanity ; 
and might love Him for that love, from which neither 
death nor life shall part us. Thus all that men feel 
for divinity in God the Father was, in the religious 
life, doubled by all that men feel for humanity. 

Take Jesus, then, to your heart. Love of Him is 



necessary for our religion, if it is to have a full power 
of redemption among men. It is needed to give our 
causes movement, our ideas personality, our life 
tenderness, our human soul its full expansion in 
love over all the children of God. That was St. 
Paul's conviction ; I pray that it may be ours. 

And now it remains to ask how we can apply 
what we have said of the reasons of the enduring- 
ness of the writings of St. Paul to our own lives ? 
The first reason I gave was their vigorous personal 

It is one of the modem fashions to decry individu- 
ality. ''We must sacrifice it to mankind," we are 
told ; and that is a very good thing to say, if it does 
not lead us into leaving ourselves with no indi- 
viduality to sacrifice. "We must merge it in the 
collective interest," as if it were not for the collec- 
tive interest that each man should have his own 
vital and special interests. These sayings enclose 
only half-truths ; and they are one of the checks to 
individuality which ethical societies and religions of 
humanity and altruistic philosophies are tending to 
produce. Another check comes from society — a 
dull society which does not like to be ruffled. " We 
must keep individuality down lest we shock the 
world. There is one pattern after which we should 

all be made ; one set of opinions, one rule of life. 



Anything personal which jars these dulcet arrange- 
ments is improper. It is unwise to speak of your 
own feelings or to air your own thoughts. If you 
must do it, do it as if you were not doing it." 

This set against individual thought and action is 
one, as St. Paul would say, of the "elements of 
the world," and in its various forms is a sore 
trouble to mankind. If you weaken individuality, 
you weaken the vital force of the race. The varieties, 
to speak for a moment with an air of science, 
out of which new species of human thought are 
developed, are then suppressed. Could you destroy 
individuality, the salt would be taken out of our pro- 
gress, the sharp and healthy element out of all that 
is done and written. But I need not anticipate this 
melancholy fate. This uniform mediocrity, the Para- 
dise of certain people, will never be reached. The 
element of individuality will always be too strong 
for the levelling elements of the world that oppose 
it ; ay, and for all the religious or moral teaching 
which says " Crush your personality." There never 
has been a time when human nature has not rebelled 
against this common tyranny, and beaten it in the 

But there is a limit to the indulgence of one's own 
special turn, and the limit does not diminish but 
enhances the pleasure of the just indulgence of being 

97 r. 


true to that distinct personality we derive from God. 
It is the limit set by the law of love. No one has 
put it better than St. Paul, who had learnt it through 
the temptations of his own strong individuality. 
When the exercise of our personal turn does wrong 
to men, leads them into evil, makes them look at the 
base, the sensual, or the ugly, is cruel to the weak, 
attacks or violates at any point the law of love — then 
a man must limit the outgoings of his individuality, 
and that not only for the sake of mankind, but, as 
he will find out, for the sake of keeping his indi- 
vidual powers. The practice of things, or the pro- 
pagation of views, however original you think them, 
which degrade, or weaken, or injure mankind in 
any way whatever, degrade, weaken and injure the 
roots of your own being. The doer of these things 
loses in the end his individuality. He becomes a 
mere mannerist, one of a lot, some one whom you 
can class at once, a useless person, not a person at 
all. We know, only too well, how often in art, in 
literature, in politics, in religion, the selfish indi- 
vidualist has died. 

There is but one law. Let individuality have its 
full swing in behalf of others, not of yourself; in 
behalf of causes which do not belong to your own 
worldly interests. When you are borne away on a 
stream of love, then you may be as individual as you 



like, and then everything personal in you will give 
pleasure ; and then also, most delightful fruit of love, 
your personality itself will develop into power, 
virtue, and an opulence of expansion of which at 
first you had no conception. Never, never do we 
feel so much ourselves, so original, so distinct, so 
conscious of being, as when we have lost all the 
selfish aims into which personality is directed, in a 
rush of love — love of God, love of man, love of a 
noble idea or a great cause. When we have lost all 
the little relative personalities in which our own 
desires enthrall us, we have secured absolute per- 
sonality. Whosoever loseth his life, the same shall 
find it. 

As to the second element in St. Paul's writings 
which gave them their lasting quality, there is not 
much need to speak of it. Every one confesses that 
the more we can feel with all that is human, the 
better and fresher we are, the more capable of fine 
enjoyment, the more delightful and useful to the 
world. That is now almost a truism. But very few 
make it, as Christ made it, the business of their lives. 
Men have more interest in business, in getting on, 
in what they call practical life which means lining 
their pockets, in pleasure, in being talked of, in 
social repute, than in learning, through love of men 
and women, to know why men and women weep 



and rejoice, why they love and hate, how they live 
and love and die, of what stuff human nature is made, 
and how it behaves in the varied circumstances 
of the great drama we are playipg in sight of the 

Yet, there is the real interest of human, of public 
life ; the impassionating interest, the interest which 
never knows satiety, which never allows the con- 
science to go to sleep, the intellect to weary, the 
imagination to become empty of subjects, the heart 
to grow cold, or the' spirit to starve, and which, 
best of all, is of itself eternal. We can conceive 
no period, after millions and millions of years, in 
which we could lose our interest in human nature ; 
yes, in the very simplest forms of it — in a mother's 
love for her child, in a maiden's first feeling of 
love, in a young man's first aspiration, in a son's 
reverence for his father. 

• There is that eternal divinity in these matters ot 
simple humanity which takes us back into the very 
essence of God, into the primal light and life of pure 
love, and in us into all the colours and shadows of 
love. These things are always the same at root, 
but in every spirit that ever lived in all the worlds 
of space, they have been different in form : some 
touch in their evolution makes them various. The 
more we see of them and know, the more fine plea- 



sure we attain and keep ; the better work we shall 
do, and the more shall we be loved. For love in us 
will create love in others. What we give will come 
back to us— "good measure of love, pressed down 
and shaken together, will men give into our bosom." 
In that is the charm of being; there is the true 
romance, the true poem of life ; there the true source 
and power of creation ; there the greatest nearness 
to Christ Jesus. 

Lastly, cherish in your heart and act out in your 
life some universal idea, the embodiment in thought 
of some high and worthy cause ; one of the mother- 
ideas at whose breasts all the children of men drink 
nourishment and pleasure. And the idea, as you 
live it, will enchant your daily life, and also, because 
it is necessary for the good of men, will make you 
full of humanity. 

Few can make these ideas, nor are they many. 
But all can grasp as the foundation of active life 
some one of the great ideas which the experience 
of history has proved of vital use to the human race, 
and dedicate their life to its service. There is the 
idea of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood 
of all men in Him. There arc the sequent ideas of 
equal freedom and of equal justice for all men. 
There is the deepest idea of Jesus — that because all 
are children of God, to give up one's self for others 



is the true life. There is the idea that Man is 
destined to endless development in God, because 
Righteousness, which is Love, must be omnipotent. 

There are others, these few are but examples. 
Choose one, and in choosing one you choose the 
rest — for these vast conceptions are forms of one 
primal thought and energy ; and, having chosen it, 
live it forth in your life. Bring up to it, as it sits 
within you on its throne, its great eyes flashing with 
its universal life, and its mouth speaking trumpet 
things such as the angel spoke to John ; bring up to 
its feet, beneath which a river of life flows, watering 
the soul with unfailing dew — bring to it as its ser- 
vants, your desires, hopes, fears and aspirations, 
the powers and principalities of your soul, your 
outward life, your social life, your business, your 
profession, your duties and pursuits, that the idea 
may pervade them with itself and animate them into 
active love. 

So will you, almost without knowing it, love man- 
kmd, and bless it at every moment ; and dignifying 
your own life, make it honourable and full of noble 
joy; till — in the unity of purpose and force you 
gain by the steady direction of every power in you 
towards one end — you win in the end, harmony of 
being; that glorious thing which, of all the divine 
goods possible to man, the Greeks saw was the first, 



and Jesus made His own, and called it '* Peace, my 
peace"; His dearest legacy to us. Think then of 
this ; and as you think remember how Jesus, who 
had done this thing, expressed it — and who may 
imagine the surge of silent joy within Him as thus, 
in the very face of death, He said it — " For this end 
was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, 
to bear witness to the truth." 




You know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain. 

I Cor. XV. 58 

THE aspect under which life presented itself to 
St. Paul was at once stern and joyous. " As 
sorrowful, but always rejoicing," and the joy came, 
in his mind, directly out of the sorrow. Nor, indeed, 
was it so much sorrow in our personal sense of the 
word that he meant, as tribulation — the general 
trouble that arises from facing the difficulties and 
temptations of the Christian warfare, from standing 
firm against the world, from self-subjugation. Life 
was to him a pursuit, a race, a battle ; but a pursuit 
which should attain, a race which had a goal, a battle 
which was to end in victory. The struggle was 
constant, the watchfulness should be unvarying, the 
armour with which he armed the Christian soldier 
always ready. Yet, the end was worth all the trouble, 
and the battle made the soul. ** So fight I, not as one 
that beateth the air. I press forward to the mark, 

the prize of my high calling in Christ Jesus." 



But this noble temper is not the temper of a large 
part of modern life, nor was it the temper of the 
over-civilised Roman when St. Paul was alive. We 
ask, as the Roman asked from the depths of his 
luxury : " Of what use is it all ? What use to me, 
what use to the world ? As far as I can see, matters 
are not better than they were one hundred years 
ago. All is doubt, all is trouble. I cannot tell 
whether what we call Nature may not knock all 
my work on the head to-morrow. I cannot tell 
whether the fancy of an emperor, or the ill-temper 
of a statesman, or the caprice of a mob may not 
destroy in five years the progress the world has made 
in civilisation. Nor can I tell whether we pass into 
dust and gas or into life when we die. Of what use 
then is it to struggle and labour, to contend, to run 
with patience ? Why should I be always climbing up 
the barren wave ? Why should I soar to the stars 
when I have no certainty that I shall not fall, like 
Icarus, headlong into the unrecording ocean ? " This 
is the frequent cry of our society. And whether 
it be the lotus-eater's cry, or that of coarser sen- 
sualism, or that of the weary sceptic, or that of the 
brutal criminal — its querulous petulance is the same. 
" What is the use of it all, to what end ? How I 
came here, I don*t know. What is the end of my 
labour here? I do not know. Whither I am 



going I cannot tell and I do not seem to care. Then, 
why should I endue armour, why should I fight, why 
should I gird up my loins and run so furiously? 
Tell me that ! " 

These are questions which, whenever they per- 
vade a whole society, prove that such a society is in 
an advanced stage of decay. They have been fre- 
quently asked when great empires were dying, and 
they never have had but one reply — the overthrow 
of that nation by another which did think that life 
was worth living, and things worth the doing, and 
the end worth the battle. They have frequently 
been asked by the whole of one class in a nation ; 
and then that class has gone down like a rotten 
ship, run into and sunk by other classes in the 
nation, either high or low, who had keen hopes and 
lofty aspirations, whose men loved to fight the battle 
and to run the race. 

It is only a certain type among us who ask these 
questions. I say, a type, and not a class ; for there 
is no special class infected as a class by this disease. 
The cry comes out of a temper of sloth, self-in- 
dulgence, satiety-ridden appetite, mental exhaustion, 
want of love and its imaginations — and no class is 
free from such a temper. But the comfortable, and 
the people called cultivated, are more liable to it than 

the poor and ignorant. Luxury is its copious nurse, 



and the vanity of science persuades it that its un- 
beliefs are very fine things. Were all England to 
groan out these questions, the country would not be 
worth existing. But that is not the case. On the 
whole, men and women care for their life, and like 
their fighting — and not only for themselves. During 
the last thirty years England has wrought well for 
other causes than those which belong only to Mam- 
mon and the world. As to the question, " To what 
goal is life directed, whither are we going, of what 
good is effort ? " — it is debated far and wide and with 
extraordinary interest. It is worth while, then, to 
join in the debate, and at least to see what St. Paul 
thought of the matter. He did not shirk the question, 
" Of what use is it all — this war, this race " ? There 
was, he said, a prize for each individual, and for the 

And he did right not to limit the question and the 
answer to individuals alone. Even more than he, 
we are convinced, at this stage in the world's 
history, that whatever answer is given must take in 
the whole of mankind as well as the parts. We 
must not only find use and good in our battle ; all 
men must also find them. The full corporate 
body of humanity must reach the goal of good ; and 
only in the good of the whole shall each separate 

person of the body find his own good. Even St. 



Paul, who could not have been so conscious of the 
unity of mankind as we are, was carried, as we see 
in many passages, beyond the limits of his time and 
thought, and saw, in prophetic idea, all mankind 
crowned with the crown of life and at one with God 
through Jesus Christ. The proper answer must in- 
clude the personal life of each, and the life of the 

The answer of the pessimist, an answer which is 
given by a number of persons among the decaying 
type of whom I have spoken, is not such an answer. 
It is true it includes the whole and the parts, but it 
includes them in a negative in which they are them- 
selves negatives. It declares not only that the 
whole body perishes and every member of it, but 
that all their effort is base, and all that they fight 
for contemptible. It calls those qualities of human 
nature which men agree to think the best — such a 
quality as love — blind motions of appetite, sense and 
matter. It says that the world and human life are 
unutterably vile and miserable. There is only one 
aim the wise man should have, and that is to perish 
as quickly as possible ; only one good he can do to 
his fellows, and that is to convince them of the 
blessing of annihilation — the happy escape from the 
measureless meanness and misery of human life. 

That is one answer, and the statement of it seems 



its best refutation. It is not human life, but this 
theory of it, which is immeasurably mean. But so 
long as one grain of national or individual vigour 
remains uneaten away by luxury and selfishness, 
so long there is no chance of this doctrine prevailing 
in men or in a nation. Were it not so ugly it might 
be taken as an elaborate philosophic jest, and, 
indeed, I am told that this is the view sometimes 
taken of it in the country where its most substantial 
phantom has arisen. It is not a jest. It proclaims 
so strongly that those who hold it are an element of 
corruption in society, that we must take it seriously. 
Secondly, there is an answer given to these 
questions by some in the religious world. These 
work out their theory of God and man in such a 
way as to promote the salvation of a moderate 
number of individuals, and to fling the rest either 
as rubbish to the void, or as fodder for hell. The 
struggle, they think, is of use and good to those who 
believe a certain set of doctrines ; and who, having 
believed them, live by them. These attain the prize 
of happiness ; these live for ever in God. But those 
who will not confess these docrines — they may strive 
and war for the good of men all their life long ; they 
may be just and loving — it is of no good to them, 
nor is their struggle of any good to the rest of men. 
This is even a worse lie than pessimism, for it 



degrades the character of the God they have created, 
and makes Him more hateful than the idols of the 

What is the use of imposing a character on God 
which the conscience of the world justly considers 
immoral ; and which day by day will seem less just, 
less loving than men are ? When God is represented 
as morally inferior to man by religious persons, reli- 
gion and morality are divorced from God ; and that is 
unfortunate for States and men. What is the use of 
the spirit of God labouring on men and bringing them 
to a higher morality in the course of history, if men 
who call themselves religious, and who, indeed, are 
religious, still keep up doctrines which deny the work 
of the Spirit ? Let them reform their doctrines. More- 
over, their answer only takes note of individuals, it 
neglects the whole. As such, it is an answer which 
has no just reason for existence in this time of the 
world's history, when the fate of the whole is first in 
men^s minds and the fate of the individual second. 
We have at last begun to understand what must seem 
obvious to God the Father — that the fate of the whole 
is one, not two; and includes the fate of the individual. 

There is another point of view in which we may 

test the truth of this orthodox opinion. While it 

saves and blesses a few, its natural contention is 

that the mass of men are going from bad to worse. 

113 u 


Is that true ? Has it a grain of sense in it ? At any 
rate the whole of modern science is against it. This 
view contradicts all that we know of the evolution of 
man. It contradicts the known facts of the history of 
man. Man did not begin, as it says, in goodness and 
perfection, but emerged by slow and indefinite 
growth into a savage state in which he discovered 
fire, arms and clothing; established pastoral life, 
then agriculture, and drew together into communities, 
which by slow degrees aimed at living not only for 
one another, but for the good of their descendants. 

We look at a continuous progress, not at a 
fall, and then at retrogression. Then followed, 
century after century, the development of laws, of 
the arts of life, of government, of commerce, of cities, 
of societies, of literature, of music, painting, archi- 
tecture ; of moral ideas ; of spiritual life ; of religion ; 
of the sense of duty owed by the individual to the 
whole of the human race — a progress, a development, 
which, though slow, is of ineffable magnificence ; 
which, though stained with a thousand evils, is of 
so grand a morality, of so noble an afi*ection, of so 
vast an intellectual power, of so subtle and far- 
reaching an imagination and spirituality, that when 
we consider it, apart from this untrue theory, we are 
lost in the splendour and nobleness of it ; and if 

we are Christians, look up with awe and gratitude 



to God whom we believe to be guiding man, through 
all his wanderings, into perfectness at last. 

But it is not so with those who make this seeming 
religious answer. What must we think of a God, who, 
according to them, saves a few persons, and allows 
the rest to sink into the evil that He hates ? We 
can only think of Him as we think of a despotic 
sultan who has favourites ; and who is Himself 
unable to save the rest if He wished it ; or unwill- 
ing to save them if He is able. And both supposi- 
tions are a degradation of the idea of God. No, 
that answer will not do. 

Thirdly, there is the answer given by the excellent 
people v/ho will have nothing to do with God and 
immortal life ; who say that the only thing they know 
is humanity ; and that the individual is frankly and 
of a willing heart to sacrifice himself for the welfare 
of the whole ; who say that he must do this without 
any hope of a life to come, which is a selfish thing 
to desire ; but with the hope, which is not selfish, 
that he will live in the future humanity by the good 
that he has done. Everybody perishes in the end, 
the whole as well as the parts ; but the whole will 
continue for a long time. Live as goodness, force, 
intelligence, beauty in that whole while it lasts. 
This is the only immortality. Sacrifice all indi- 
viduality and all its hopes to the welfare of the race. 



Of course the first thing to be said in answer to 
this theory is — that it leaves out of its scope all 
the criminals, all the selfish, all those who are sloth- 
ful, all the sinners against society ; and in that it is 
just as cruel as the religious folk who send the greater 
part of the world to hell. It is true the bad folk 
are annihilated by this theory, and so far, are better 
off; but their life is no good to them, and no good, 
save as warning, to the human race. This theory 
then only answers the question — ** Of what use is all 
this effort? " for a very small part of the human race — 
for the select few who can be moral without much 
trouble, who can sacrifice themselves with pleasurable 
ease, and who can endure the thought that all they do 
of good meets at last precisely the same fate which 
befalls the worst wickedness of the world. Death 
swallows every one at last, indiscriminately ; fool and 
wise, evil and good, cruel and loving, martyr and 
sensualist, criminal and saint. All the trouble is for 
nothing in the end. It matters little whether this 
end come in a thousand years or in a hundred million 
years. The farce and futility of absolute death as 
the close of human history is not lessened by distance 
of time. 

Nay, it is increased. The longer the human race 

continues, the nobler its developments — and the 

growth from better to better of man is part of this 



theory — the longer love and beauty last, the higher 
in the process of years justice, truth, knowledge and 
art are expanded — the more miserable and abominable 
is the outlook of this theory, the more unjust and 
unintelligent is the close. Men cannot realise, when 
they lightly think, things that seem so far away as 
this entire destruction of all the work and all the 
love of mankind. If they could, if they were always 
to see this conclusion, so shameful is it, they would 
loathe their life worse than the worst pessimist. 
And if it be true, pessimism is the wisest theory of 
life, the most accordant to nature. 

That is one aspect of this theory. It urges 
nobility of life, and then tramples that nobility into 
the same ruin as baseness of life. It sacrifices the 
individual, and when every individual is sacrificed 
and all the good of sacrifice attained, what becomes 
of the perfected whole ? It is stamped out by the 
soulless power. Moreover, in the hurry of this 
theory to secure the good of the collective body of 
humanity, and in subordinating everything to that, 
it tends to weaken that passion of personality which 
is one of the deepest factors of human nature, and 
without satisfjring which no theory of life has any 
chance of surviving or any right to survive. To 
give up oneself for the sake of man, that is impera- 
tive ; and for their declaration of that we thank these 



theorists. But to enfeeble or extinguish personality 
in doing so, that is not only not imperative, it is 
wrong. Nay, it is unnatural. The few who think 
they succeed in that will lose their capacity to live 
for others, and become isolated in sensualism or in 
asceticism. Moreover, to lose our individuality is to 
have nothing left to sacrifice. At this point, as at all 
others in this theory, we are brought into intellectual 
and spiritual absurdities. 

So, when we ask of this theory — " Of what use is 
the war, the struggle against evil and for good ? " — it 
answers, " To benefit humanity " ; and then, when 
we ask, "What becomes of the humanity we benefit? " 
the answer is, " It perishes." " Why then," we say, 
'' the problem is given up. I am in as great a dark- 
ness as before. I am to love my kind, to devote my 
whole being to its progress, and then, when it is made 
perfect, it slips into nonentity ! Lame and ridiculous 
conclusion I It has no common sense." 

Lastly, there is the answer which we derive from 
Jesus Christ. It meets the two factors in human 
nature which must be combined in a true answer : 
the desire to give up oneself to mankind — the desire 
for individuality. Christ retained our individuality, 
not towards man, where it would tend to selfish- 
ness, but towards God, where it must tend to 
become more and more loving. He linked each soul 



directl}' to its heavenly Father; He made all life 

intensely personal in its relation to God. ** You are 

you," He would say, '* always to God. Your life, 

your distinct life, is bound up with Him. He has 

special love, special aims, a special ideal for you. 

The distinct individuality which you have with Him 

shall never perish. It begins here, it continues for 

ever in eternity. You shall always be yourself for 

ever." Individuality was thus secured ; but because 

it was secured by union with God, the absolute Love, 

it could never become selfish, and it was bound 

to deepen in unselfishness. The attainment then 

of a perfect individuality in a perfect love — that is 

part of the prize of our high calling in Christ Jesus. 

And to attain that is worth any struggle, any trouble. 

It ennobles all the war. It makes every battle in it 

worth waging. It glorifies every hour of the race. 

It sanctifies and makes beautiful every trial. It 

makes life a march to victory. 

Then there is the other side of the matter. 

What does Christ Jesus bid us do concerning man ? 

What is our relation to the human race ? His life 

tells us what that is. It is a relation of absolute 

sacrifice of self. He commands, and He lived out 

this command, that we should, hour by hour, devote 

our life, ever3rthing that we are and have, to the 

love of the human race ; to promote its spiritual, 



imaginative, intellectual, and moral growth ; to sur- 
render our very being, save that which we have in 
God, for the collective whole. And we are only not 
to surrender that being which we have in God, 
because it is by that — by our union, that is, with 
perfect love — that we are enabled to offer up our life 
for the cause of our brother men. 

This is our duty towards man ; and this is the way 
in which Jesus satisfied the desire of sacrifice, and 
secured it, as no modem theory has ever secured 
it, in the depths of the heart of man.. Then, 
when we have tilled the ground of our life for 
the love of humanity and made a harvest for men ; 
when, if we have been cast out of Eden in our 
personal life, we have made a new Eden for others ; 
why then, we shall ask no longer, " Of what use 
is the battle, what is the worth of living ? " We 
shall be far too happy to ask that question. No 
power can cast us out of the Paradise of giving our- 
selves away. That happiness has no satiety ; its 
love brings no isolation with it. It doubles and re- 
doubles its incessant joy ; for the work which makes 
it brings into our soul all the life of mankind, all the 
beauty of Nature, and all the character of God. 
Losing our self, we find everything. 

This is the work which rejoiced and enkindled 
Jesus. When we follow Him in it, we know what 



His saying meant — " I am come that ye might have 
life and might have it more abundantly." And then, 
we know how well life is worth the living, of what 
glorious value is the prize of our high calling in 
Christ Jesus. 

Nor is this all. There is a wider view. It is not 
only a personal joy we gain, but a universal one. 
All personal feeling is at the last swallowed up 
in our delight in the perfection of the whole. When 
we feel that all shall know God, from the least to 
the greatest, then to live is of infinite good and joy. 
Everything then we do and think by the power of 
love is an element of the progress, salvation, and 
final glory of the human race. Every grain of our 
work grows and is harvested in the happiness of all. 

For, in this answer, it is not death at the end 
which meets mankind, but life. We, and all, are the 
children of immortal Love; and Love is Life. When 
the whole history of earth is finished, and we are 
burnt up by the sun, or frozen by the exhaustion of 
its heat, the history of humanity will have but begun. 
Its love, its knowledge, its art, its law, its morality, its 
impassioned religion, its development, will pass on- 
wards, 'undying, into nobler and nobler forms. The 
end of mankind is inexpressibly noble. 

What need, then, any longer to ask — Of what use 
is the war ? We have our answer. We fight the 



good fight, we suffer, we endure, we bear with 
smiling faith the whips and arrows of outrageous 
fortune, we love and labour for men — because of the 
prize of our high calling in Christ Jesus. In ever- 
lasting continuance, we see the whole of humanity, 
and ourselves in it, not only redeemed, but passing 
onwards, in corporate and harmonious life, through 
dramatic stages of vigorous, peaceful and righteous 
development, into absolute union with absolute Love. 




There remaineth a rest for the people of God, 

Hebrews iv. 9 

I T is a bold thing to say that we can attain to rest, 
* for we live in a world where restlessness seems 
master. It might not be so hard to realise rest, if 
we passed our life in the quiet of the country, where 
life flows like those sleepy rivers which slowly swirl 
through the meadows of the fen-lands. But even 
there monotony has its own unquiet ; the unevent- 
ful life without is often married to an inner life full ) 
of cravings, indignations and despairs, of passionate ^ 
restlessness to escape into the movement and stir 
beyond — such as a captive feels in prison, who can 
hear through his bars the voices of men and women 
in the free air, and the rustling of the trees. A 
quiet life does not always mean a restful soul. 

Still, in such a life we might conceive of peace, 
for day after day Nature lays the image of it before 
our eyes— but here, in the greater cities of the earth, 

the picture is not of rest but restlessness. Often 



I think, as I go through the streets of London, that 

I am in that circle of the Inferno where the souls 

were driven round incessantly upon the eddying 

winds, in pauseless trouble and in bitter hell — save 

that love at least is here, and was there — and where 

there is any love there is no perfect hell. But our 

citied restlessness has only too little love to modify 

it. It is another mistress rather than love who most 

besets us with her cruel caressing. It is desire of 

the things which die with us — which, when they are 

grasped, have no permanent delight, and end in the 

fierceness of satiety — that drives us round upon the 

murky whirl. Money, ambition, fashion, pleasure of 

the appetites, craving of the senses ; excitement of 

gambling, or of gambling with our life ; our own 

unbridled will ; base passions basely wrought into 

base action — these are the whirlwinds on which we 

are so often borne, by which we are lashed into so 

dreadful an activity. It is a terrible sight; and it 

is hard at times to realise the quiet movement of 

God's will, or those eternal elements of humanity 

which live their constant life in men, below the 

madness and the storm. 

It is a wonderful thing to stand still in a great 

English city, and to see flowing by our place the 

eager, set, and pushing crowds, hastening as if for 

life and death ; and some imagine that they see in 



that swarming activity the proof and image of the 
greatness of England. But the question a stranger 
from a nobler world would ask, in wonder indeed, but 
the wonder of dismay and pity, would be this : *' Why 
are all this little folk in such dreadful hurry, hurry 
that looks like trouble ; what are they pursuing, and 
what is the end of their activity ? Is it the things 
that remain ? If it were I should be conscious of 
some rest." And, indeed, he would be right. It is 
not greatness that we see but weakness. More than 
half of the fierce movement is the desperate battle of 
thousands for food, for a roof to cover them, for the 
common rights of life — and the battle is good, but 
not its desperation. The basis of our society is not 
strong but weak. Were it not for the love among 
the crowd, it would perish of the feebleness that 
despair awakens and confirms. Anotfier part of 
that wild haste is made out of the selfish desire for 
more and yet more of wealth, which, accumulated, 
corrupts the springs of rest, and hands on restless- 
ness to those who inherit it. Then, there are those 
whom the evil passions drive along — hatred and 
impurity, jealousy and anger, fear and sorrow ; and 
others who pursue the things which perish while 
we touch them ; wasting immortal energies on aims 
as unstable as the stormy sea, and the end of which 

is fierce disquiet. No greatness for England in 




that I No, but physical weakness, intellectual decay, 
moral loss, spiritual degradation I 

And when we go down into the city of our own 
heart, a city more real than Paris or London, 
we find ourselves in as great a crowd as that 
which surges up and down in the huge caldrons 
where men furiously seethe together. That crowd 
within is as restless and as driven, as varied and 
as passionate, as the crowd without. All the streets 
1 of our heart are full and whirling. There is the 
host of desires rushing to and fro ; there the high- 
hearted nobles and great citizens of the soul. 
Others are there of lower and fiercer port, 
others base as criminals ; and among them, like 
warriors, move the great passions, breathing 
fire and kindling the desires to their work. And 
there are the million thoughts and hopes and 
associations, feelings and fancies, which hurry 
through our hearts each day and do their business 
for evil or for good. And there are duties with 
their lawyers, and impulses from without with 
their train of vanities and self-reproaches, and faiths 
battling with despairs, and arguments clashing with 
arguments, and memories which waken tender- 
ness or hate; and all the facts which knowledge 
has handed us to use, each a personage pushing his 

way through the crowd ; and the children the senses 



have given to imagination ; and the appetites with 

satisfied or hungry eyes; and driving his haughty 

path among them all, throned on his golden car, rich 

with barbaric instincts like gems, the mighty lord of 

all evil moves on, dark Self-will, grimly smiling. 

Pride, his coarse mistress, sits beside him, and the 

seven sins pull them through the hurly-burly — while 

flitting through dim streets, far away from the furious 

stir, four shadows, half naked and starved, but in 

whose eyes is sunshine, appear and vanish, vanish 

and appear — Conscience and Beauty, Imagination 

and Love, seeking religion and finding her not ; and 

with them, unseen and jostled in the hurry, the 

angels of the Spirit, hoping, but in vain as yet, that 

any one of the throng will look up and see the 

quiet stars and wish for peace. Oh, greater and 

more unquiet than the streets of London is the 

wonderful city within I 

This is not an ideal, not even a just condition. 

Where there is no conscious repose — not the repose / 

of inactivity, but of inward harmony and power, / 

resting on an unshakeable foundation — life is in the / 

wrong. There is, it is true, a noble disquiet which . 

God approves, and which ministers to the progress / 

of men. It is when the whole nature is impatient / 

in order to accomplish work that it loves, work given ' 

to us by God's character and useful to mankind. It is 

129 I 


when, behind all action, a divine ideal, creating high 
enthusiasm, pushes a man. It is when a man's 
will, righteously disturbed by the aimless hurry and 
anarchy in his soul, angry with the despotism of 
desires and self- regarding passions, resolves to have 
all things mastered by the righteousness and love of 
God — ^and then, reducing the crowd under righteous 
government, urges every one of them on to the goal 

• of perfectness. Some call that noble state of mind 
disquiet. The term is not the right term. It ought 

iv^ to be called the onward march to God. 

At any rate it is not usually our disquiet. That 
is caused by another kind of determination alto- 
gether — the resolute, fixed determination to follow 
what we like the best ; to get our own way, no matter 
what it costs others or ourselves; and when we 
have got it, and afterwards got the trouble which 
is certain to follow it, to blame God because He 
did not interfere, or circumstances which were too 
strong for us, or the thing we call Fate, which 
always means our own self-will. Then, what with 
the rushes of conscience which at times occur, and 
the reproaches of our dim religion, and the sense 
that we are sacrificing the best things to the transient, 
and the misery we have when we are punished, and 
the evil passions which tyrannise over and corrupt 

us, and the memories of all we have lost, and the 



hopelessness of getting right which so much doing 
wrong has engendered, and a hundred other things, 
we are in that state of inward discord and of weak- 
ness, even when we think ourselves most strong, 
which is the very essence of a restless life. This 
is not divine unrest No ; nor is it Ufe. God has 
none of it, and if we reach His rest at last, we 
shall know that one moment of it is more divine than 
centuries of disquiet, even though the disquiet be the 
noble disquiet of the soul. For even that disquiet 
means that the nature is out of tune, and apart from 

Is that always to be our condition ? Is that the 
woeful destiny of man ? For ever tossed, for ever 
victimised, for ever weary of himself? No; our 
ideal and our destiny is to reach God's harmony and 
power by beating out the discord and feebleness in 
us — and the attainment of this is rest. It is degra- 
dation to battle for ever with the transient and the 
sensual, to be the victim of craving and vain desires. 
It is our glory to be in harmony with the righteous 
life of Him who leads the quiring spheres, to have 
with Him the power of creative love ; and, in that 
harmony of righteousness and creativeness of love, 
to possess the peace which passeth understanding. 
Work and rest are together then, nay, they are 



Now, what is the first step towards the winning 
of that rest ? It is the giving up of self-will and the 
receiving of God's will as our own — and what that 
means is clear. It is to make our life at one with 
God's character, with justice and purity, with truth 
and love, with mercy and joy. It is the surrender of 
our own pleasure and the making of God's desire for 
us the master of our life. That is the first step— a 
direction of the soul to God. The second has to do 
with mankind. It is the replacing of all self-love 
by the love of our fellow men ; a direction of the 
soul to God through man. 

These two ways are in reality one ; and there is 
no other way, if we search the whole world over, in 
which we may attain rest. Simple as it sounds, it 
is the very last way many of us seek. We fight 
against this truth, and it has to be beaten into us by 
pain. Clear as it seems, it is a secret which is as 
difficult to discover as the Elixir of Life, but it is so 
difficult because we do not will to discover it. 

One lived long ago on earth who found it out. 

And He put it in this way : Take my yoke upon 3'ou 

and learn of me ; for I am meek and lowly of heart ; 

and ye shall find rest to your souls. This has a 

strange sound, for we do not immediately conceive 

how meekness and holiness are bound up with work ; 

and without work, in which God finds His rest, 



there can be none of the peace of harmony and 
power. But meekness towards God is to willingly 
take the will of God for our own ; and the will of 
God is this, as Jesus conceived it : *' My meat and 
drink is to do my Father's will and to finish His 
work ; " and the work of God is this — to seek and 
save the lost, to redeem the world by love, to die 
for truth and righteousness when we have lived for 
them. In lowly submission to that law of life, in 
taking that yoke upon us, is the secret of the rest of 
the human soul. 

And if ever in history we can be convinced by 
words of the existence of inward restfulness, we are 
convinced that Jesus possessed it. " Blessed are the 
pure in heart, for they shall see God." The deepest 
thing in that saying is its note of repose ! " Come 
unto me all ye who are weary and heavy laden ; 
I will give you rest." What must have been the 
inward quiet of one who could say so daring a 
thing ? When all abandoned Him, " I am not 
alone," He said, "the Father is with me." It is 
absolute rest of heart. It is no wonder then that 
He could give His people, as His last legacy, 
peace. '* Peace, my peace I leave with you." Nor 
could death, and death with all its terrors, destroy 
that divine repose. One brief moment of utter 
loneliness and sorrow — as if He could not leave 


unsounded the most unfathomed pain of men — was 
followed by the resurrection of steadfast peace. 
** Father into thy hands I commend my spirit." Lowly 
in heart, He did His Father's will of righteousness 
and love, in Himself and for His fellow men; 
and fulfilled it so well that the expression of His 
peace in death was preceded by the reason of that 
peace. " My work is finished." This then is on 
earth the rest of the soul of man ; self-will replaced 
by God's will, and God's will conceived of as the 
labour of love for His children. 

But now, there is something more to say. I will 
make the matter more personal, and go down to the 
roots of rest. Its first root is inward labour for right- 
doing. Through that labour we attain power to act 
for good with ease, and to resist evil with ease; 
and noble power is a quality of rest. When we 
have gained that kind of power, we gain inward 
harmony and inner harmony is the expression of 
divine rest. And from all the three — from the 
labour, the power and the harmony of righteousness 
— we win creative life, and the intensity of creative 
life is the intensity of rest. 

Take labour first, labour for righteousness. It is 
troublesome at the beginning ; the gate is narrow 
by which we enter its way, so narrow that the 
struggle needs desperate earnestness ; violence done 



on ourselves. **Take my yoke upon you," said 
Jesus. Bow your heads like oxen, bend to your 
work, set your whole heart into dragging the 

There are those who cannot bear the trouble of 
this labour, who shake off its yoke. They begin, but 
the slowness with which, at first, ease in righteous 
labour is won, or conquest of temptation made, is too 
much for their impatient heart, and in a petulant 
and angry hour they seek the ancient pleasure of 
doing their own will, of driving their own plough. 
But they suffer the punishment of their refusal. 
Having once begun the true life, they never can 
enjoy the old in the same way. A new unrest is 
now added to the satiety which used of old to bring 
its trouble into exhausted pleasure — the new 
unrest of shame ; the shame of having cared for 
the good and ceased to do it ; of having seen the 
nobler life and rejected it ; the shame of self-con- 
tempt ; the misery of being weak and knowing it. 
That miserable shame will strangle all your strength 
for good, if you prefer it to the noble effort to regain 
the courage for good which you have lost. Break 
loose from it in the name of the Father of all virtue. 
Get back to the yoke of duty at all hazards, at any 
sacrifice. Escape for your life, for, indeed, all your 
life is at stake. Will you be, till you die, the victim 



of false restlessness, chained in old age to the rock, 
with that vulture preying on your heart ? 

Be patient ; take on your shoulders the yoke of 
righteous labour. The pain will be changed into 
strength. It only needs to be endured, to be 
seen as the passage to union with God and man, 
and it will produce its fruit. When the evening 
of the first day on which you resumed your 
duty has come, the change will have already been 
begun. As you pray with a new feeling in your 
heart of nearness to God before you sleep, you will 
look back on the day and see that one furrow has 
been traced in the evil of the world in which seed 
may be sown for good. And then, midst of the 
pain, there will come the first sense of real peace, 
delicate, scarcely felt, like the earliest of the winds 
of spring — gone ere it has almost come — but which 
we know is the harbinger of a new creation. Cir- 
cumstances, difficulties, suffering, these are enemies 
so long as we fear them, or fail to be resolute in 
meeting them. But if we meet them, claiming our 
right as sons of God to conquest of all things, they 
will become our friends, like the wild beasts in the 
folk-tale, who, boldly attacked by the hero, joined 
him as his allies. 

Then, when we see that the very thing which 
most tormented us is becoming part of the forces 



in the soul that tend to goodness, we begin to feel 
that all the troubles of life are means of rest, are in 
the will of God to make us strong, and in strength 
restful. A new hope dawns on the troubled waves 
of the inner life, and in the hope shines the quiet of 
the morning star. It prophesies the coming of that 
Sun of righteousness who makes the perfect summer 
of a perfect rest. The yoke is then becoming easy, 
and the burden light. There is that in such begin- 
nings which brings to our weary soul the healing 
thought that Becoming will end in Being, that the 
blossom of peace will pass on to the ripened fruit. 

In this way we arrive at spiritual power. And 
power, always a quality of rest, brings us into the 
beginning of rest, and leads us into its results. And 
the first of these is the conviction that we shall have 
perfect rest. "The fulness of what I now partly 
feel," we say, ** shall at last be mine. My rest re- 
maineth for me." Then the joy of that conviction 
doubles the spiritual power we have gained, and 
that increase of power intensifies further our feeling 
of rest. Our victory over temptation is easier than 
before. Conquests which once gave us infinite 
trouble are now taken in our stride. Endurance of 
battle has become the pleasure of battle. Sorrow 
and sin are met with a smile of conquest. Courage 
and fortitude give us more delight than pain can 



give us grief. The strength is won against which 
tribulation breaks as the tempest breaks against a 
tower set four square to all the winds of heaven. 
That is the rest of the power of God within us. 

This is an inward power carrying with it peace. 
But there is an outward power which we gain and 
which also brings its element of rest. When we 
subdue our self through love of man and for man's 
sake, we gain a noble power over the hearts of man. 
They love us and we bend them to the right. We 
inspire them to strive against their wrong because 
we love them and win their love. We gain a 
greater ease in sympathy, a greater pleasure in 
loving, a wiser gentleness, a tenderer pity ; and men 
who are lost and weary and sin-ridden, find help 
and courage with us, such as the outcast and the 
sinner found in Jesus. There is even a greater rest 
in that power than in power over oneself. For when 
we feel that we are self-conquerors it is a great thing, 
but when we feel that we are enabling others to 
conquer it is a greater thing. It completes the 
peace that comes from the holy power of love. 

Now, when that element of rest is gained which is 
in power, then we are able to attain the second 
element of it, which is inward harmony. Having 
power within, and power to overcome evil circum- 
stance, and power over the hearts of our brother 



men through love for righteousness, we can now 
array our soul into a sweet and ordered music. We 
set the faculties under one will into steady move- 
ment towards union with God. All desires, hopes, 
passions, and impulses are now mastered, like 
disciplined soldiers, under the government of love 
and righteousness ; and set, in hymnic movement, to 
move towards perfection. And after a time, so 
beautiful a thing is holy order, each of them comes 
to love that end of perfection in God more than they 
ever loved any end of their own. All the powers 
of the soul have one and the same aim, and love the 
same perfect Love ; and the result upon them of this 
divine Love, pouring its volume of strength into them 
in a swift answer to their love, is the growth of all 
of them into their full capacity, both of work and 
joy. And that in itself makes restfulness within. 
To reach full development is peace. For this is 
inner harmony — that each power of the soul, at 
rest from wars, at rest from the following of its own 
selfish caprices, but at rest in full work — does its 
own part in lowliness and meekness, and rejoices in 
that mutual subordination of each to all and of all to 
each. Finally, the collective result of this, is the 
universal movement of the whole being, in solid and 
lovely harmony, towards union with Immortal Love. 
But this is not all. From these two, power and 




harmony, issues at last the final element which 

belongs to the rest that remaineth for the people of 

God. Creative force emerges, the immediate and 

swift shaping of musical thought and feeling at their 

highest power into their finished and easy form ; 

accompanied with brilliant joy and rejoicing love. 

What vaster hope can we have than this ? It is the 

ultimate fulness of perfect life. It is the ideal of 

absolute repose. 

Strange collocation it seems — of life and rest; 

for the most that here we know of what we call 

life, we find, we think, in our restlessness. "To 

strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield." Alasl 

that is our ignorance or our feebleness. Could we 

have full power over self, and inward harmony, we 

should have creative force ; and in the act of creation, 

(the capacity for the swift doing of which doubles 

with every act of it), we should have unbounded joy ; 

the same joy God has when He says : " Let there be 

light," and there is light. Yes, when we can shape 

into beautiful form love, thought and harmony, and 

shape them with easy power — then we shall know 

what it means to be alive, and at the same time to 

be at perfect rest. The deepest power of rest lies 

in the capacity of easy creation. It is our feebleness, 

our ignorance, our want of life, our inability to give 

fine form to thought and feeling, that make our dis- 





quiet. The more of life, the more of rest ; the swifter 

the creation, the more peace ; the quicker the spinning 

of the sphere, the quieter the sphere. The depth of 

God*s repose is in the depth of His inconceivable I 

creativeness of thought and love. 

^"^his is the rest that remaineth, no sleepy heaven, 

no annihilated consciousness, no still garden of souls, 

no folly of death. It is to that haven of rest that 

we, poor, unquiet folk, are voyaging onward through 

the tumbling seas; and when the faith in it is 

greatest, and the labour for it strongest, then we 

are most happy in our work on earth. So the vision 

at the end is a great activity of power and harmony 

and life, moved into incessant creativeness by the 

thought and love of God in us and in the universe. 

This is the rest of intensity of life ; such as, in 

unfrequent hours, we have now and then on earth, 

when in fulness of being we do all things well, and 

do them with delight. ^ 

The false ideals of repose, which our weakness 

imaged, perish in the light of that conception. The 

slothful, the selfish, the material heaven are no 

more. ) Our heavenly rest is joyous activity, loving 

labour, spiritual progress; and the three are by 

their nature incapable of wearin ess. C One day of 

such a life is well won at the price of a hundred 

years of trouble, and we shall know that well. 



But when we have attained it, we shall only be 
the more full of those qualities which Jesus made 
the natural companions of the true rest of man — 
more eager to do the right, more meek and lowly of 
heart. The happy world is not peopled by the 
proud, nor by the slothful who know not duty. It 
is the humble who are the most active, the lovers of 
men who are the best creators. And these, whether 
here or in the worlds beyond, are for ever and ever 
in heaven. 




But ye are come . , . to the general assembly and 

church of the first-bom, which are written in heaven, and 

to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men 

made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new 


Hebrews xii. 23 

TO-MORROW, the first of November, is called 
the Festival of All Saints, and is kept in 
the Roman, Greek and Anglican Churches ; and as 
the day comes round, it is well for us, linking our- 
selves backward to a great past and realising a long 
traditional emotion, to adopt the Feast, and think 
of that great assembly of the just made perfect who 
are gathered into vital union with God both here 
and in the world to come, who live and rejoice in 
Him for ever. 

It is a good thing to turn aside from our noisy and 
troubled life into the quiet and majestic temple of this 
thought, and think of the Eternal Holiness. We 
are then like one who, having walked for many days 
on the dusty and clamorous high road, crosses a 

145 K 


Stile into a deep pine wood, and climbing, finds a 
fountain in the peaceful shade ; and rests, quenching 
his thirst and forgetting the weary way below ; and 
returns refreshed and solemnised to the road, having 
within him that which deceives the sadness of the 
way. The silence and the beauty of the wood, 
the cool and dew of the fountain's life, accompany 
him ; and he remembers no more of the bitterness 
of pain. 

This is the use of a great thought to the soul 
distressed by the discordant and multitudinous 
claims of life. We carry it with us into dusty lane 
and wrangling mart, and fill them with its music. 
" Why not then stay in it ? " we say ; " live always 
in its noble contemplation ? " That were happy, 
perhaps, but it will not be good for us. We are 
men, and must, like our Master, go in and out among 
men. We dare not sit too long in the silence of the 
pines. Our constant place is on the king's high- 
way, among our fellow travellers. But we shall 
do our work there, not less but more actively, if 
from time to time we enter the stillness of a vast 
spiritual conception and renew our strength at the 
fountain of its faith. Therefore I bring you to-day 
into the thought of all the Saints of God, to see 
the vision — 

Of those just spirits who wear victorious palms. 



Who are they? Who are these arrayed in white 
robes, and whence came they ? 

They are the great Apostles and Evangelists of 
our race, those who, both heathen and Christian, 
have gone forth bearing good news to the heavy- 
laden with sin and sorrow; who, bringing the power 
of holiness to the heart, have uplifted the life of 
men above inward slavery and outward oppression. 
They could not take away the weight of cruelty nor 
slay the tyrant, but they could make the soul in- 
dependent of all the power of the world. " Let there 
be holiness," they cried, " and love in the heart ; let 
the living Grod be within ; and then whatever out- 
ward ill there be, the spirit of man is conqueror." 
This was the message of the Evangelists of Jesus. 
It has been the message of many who never heard 
His name but who have drunk of His spirit ; saints of 
God who have made courageous purity dear to men. 

Rooted also in saintliness, but not so firmly, are 
the Prophets of mankind, those who in all nations 
have proclaimed with poetic power the moral and 
spiritual truths which are the bread and wine of 
human progress. Some indeed have been weak in 
holiness and then their prophecy has suffered. But 
men are feeble, and holiness is of slow growth. 
Nevertheless, even these, out of their very weakness, 
have made strength. Those whose struggle for 


saintliness has been difficult and long, are often in 
the end, when they have won goodness, the roost 
powerful in love — men who most profoundly move 
mankind through their experienced sympathy with 
its strife and pain. 

Of this mixed character are many of the great 
poets, the wisest teachers of the world. They can 
not do the evangelist's work, which is concerned 
with the daily life of men. But they reveal the 
great ideas by which the intellectual and spiritual 
life of mankind is made new, by which the beauty 
which flows from love of man and nature is recreated 
when its previous forms have been exhausted. 
They unfold the laws which govern history and 
daily life ; they open the eyes of men to the dawn of 
new light from God ; they awaken the dead ; they 
renew the old age of the world. Mighty and glorious 
has been their work, some spiritual, some moral, 
some intellectual, and all imaginative ; and high they 
stand among all Saints in that general assembly of 
the just and true of which we think to-day. 

And then, with Apostles and Prophets, are the 
Martyrs, a noble army ; those who have died for the 
sake of truth, and left shining behind them an un- 
quenchable light. These are of all ages, climes 
and religions, and many have stood, like Jesus, in a 

life and death contest with the accredited religion 



of their day. Nor do they only belong to the 
ranks of spiritual truth. There are many who stand 
in the ranks of knowledge and of art, of labour and 
of law. Have they lived for truths vital to the 
human race, and died for them, in faithful witness ? 
They are then of the noble army of martyrs, of the 
general assembly and church of the first-born. 

Apostles, Prophets, Martyrs, it is a vision to 
uplift the heart ! And we need it more than ever in 
this our day. For, driven by too luxurious a life, or 
impelled by indignation with injustice, cruelty and 
folly, we are only too ready to say that humanity 
is a failure, that men and women are base, that 
their lives are nothing but the outcome of material 

It is wise to answer that impotent conclusion 
by the vision of all the Saints, by the fact of the 
Apostles, Martyrs, and Prophets. They came forth 
from our humanity; they are our brothers and 
sisters ; they contradict our futile theories of a 
world bad at its beginning and worsening to its 
close. While we remember them and honour them, 
we are capable of equalling them, and we will try. 
While we love them, we have a sure hope for 
humanity ; and when we believe that they are alive 
in God, our hope is changed into a cry of victory. 
Nor, indeed, are these, whose names are known, the 



whole of the multitude of the Saints. Even more 
than of them, we think of those whose names we do 
not know, of the host of those who have lived for 
love, who have wrought righteousness, and died for 
truth and freedom since the beginning of the world. 
By them also we are what we are. Infinite is the 
debt we owe to them, and we are unworthy of God 
and man if we do not pay it by making our lives 
into new sources of righteousness and love in 
behalf of the human race. 

Again and again, we are tempted to surrender the 
strife, to put off the armour of God, to retreat into 
the tents of sloth. *' Why shall we never cease," 
we cry, "to push the oar; why sail with hopeless 
longing to shores far off, why face the storms which 
girdle the undiscovered land ? Let us alone to eat 
the lotus and to sleep!" Then in that hour of 
shameful weariness, we see this assemblage of all 
the Saints, watching us with faithful and appealing 
eyes, all arrayed for the labours of love, who per- 
severed to the end, beyond the utmost bound of 
human hope, and seeing, we take courage from 
the solemn, fair and peaceful vision. Aspiration 
rekindles, faith leaps to her feet, the wings of love 
expand, we take the shield and draw the sword, 
we stand upon the prow of the searching ship. 
Battle and effort are in every breath we draw. We 



look on the very face of Jesus, and hear Him say, 
" I finished my course, will you not finish yours ? " 

We need the vision, for we are only too often 
part of a great herd of folk to whom the transient 
things of this world are all in all. When we are 
tempted to remain among this herd, it is well to 
think of our Master, Christ, and of this mighty 
assembly of the Saints of God. These are they 
to whom the wealth of this world was as dust in 
the balance ; of whom fashion made no slaves ; to 
whom luxury and extravagance were infamous, and 
idleness the worst of thefts; who kept the flesh 
subject to the spirit, and the senses to the high 
imagination, and the appetites to the moral will ; to 
whom the pursuits of selfish life, on which we spend 
and weaken our immortal energies, were as the 
chaff on the shealing hill. This is a vision which 
will lessen the incessant strain of the world on our 
conscience and our aspiration, and save us from the 
curse of its wickedness and stupidity. The lovelier 
and the eternal world will enter our happy soul, and 
our life will bless mankind. From everything we do 
and say, like radiant light, will flow a song into the 
hearts of weary men ; and these are the words of 
the song : " The fashion of this world passeth away, 
but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." 

Yes, " abideth for ever ! " That also comes home 



to US. The closer we get to humanity the more 

we realise the bitterness of man's voyage on the 

earth and the apparent triumph of death. Men, 

looking the tragedy in the face, grow sadder and 

more sad, and then embittered, and then scornful, 

and then despairing, unless they see some vision 

like that on which we look to-day. But if they see 

it clearly, it is not suffering on which they gaze 

but the conquest of suffering; not the pains and 

torment of the battle but the strength which the 

battle stores up as energy in the soul ; not death, 

not extinguished thought and quenched love and 

dissolved personality, but life everflowing. The 

tragedy of life ends in a Divine Comedy, its death 

in the immortal life of love. It is not humanity 

cast as rubbish to the void which our hearts behold, 

but humanity redeemed to holiness, creative in 

thought, on fire with love, thrilling at every point 

with life, and beloved of God the Father. And the 

vision, kindled in the eyes of faith, sets free the soul 

from our worst foes to-day, from scorn and from 

despair. It is not the "day of all the dead" which 

we celebrate, but the day of all the living. 

Even if we thought that only those who have 

been lovers of God and lovers of men on earth 

formed this living army of rejoicing souls ; and that 

all the rest who loved themselves alone were anni- 



hilated or reformed into other souls — this faith 
would be inspiriting; but it breathes a higher in- 
spiration, when, resting on the Fatherhood of God 
and believing in the omnipotence of love, we know 
God does not give up His children, but makes 
saintly in the other world those who have not been 
saintly here ; leading them through lawful retribution 
into union at last with His Love and Righteousness. 
For then, as we look back on the history of the 
whole race, we see nothing but Life, in constant 
evolution, passing on into higher life. 

No vision can be nobler than this, but a greater 
glory is added to it when we think that these, thus 
made perfect, are in communion one with another ; 
and that the foundation of their communion is love of 
God and love of all God's children. Undying inter- 
communion, joyous interchange of one another's 
good, enchanted giving, enchanted receiving of love 
— that also i^ contained in the vision. In infinite 
diversity of characters there is this unity of love ; in 
multitudinous personalities, this one master ; in that 
polity whose citizens are like the sand of the sea 
for number, and like the stars for difference of bright- 
ness, there is this single spirit which makes them 
one people, with one law, and one rapture. 

In that eternal unity in communion, all that here 
divides man from man is as if it had never been — 



no separate classes, no clashing interests, no hatreds, 
jealousies, envies, no desire to get the better one of 
another. If one star differs there from another star 
in glory — it is by a greater measure of the love 
which unites, not of the selfishness which divides. 
No pride or prejudice there makes the castes which 
spoil society on earth ; no privileges seized and 
kept by selfish power and wealthy cunning there 
corrupt religion and law, knowledge, and the com- 
munity of nations and of men ; no Churches and 
sects, with creeds which split up men into enemies 
and establish hatred instead of making charity, 
there devour religion ; no distinctions of national 
spirit, of colour or of culture, can breathe in the 
atmosphere of the assembly of the Saints. All are 
equal in duties and therefore equal in rights. All 
are free because all love ; all are brothers, for all are 
children of the Father. There is but one nation, the 
nation of mankind ; one Church, the Church of God ; 
and that is a mighty revolution when it is set face to 
face with its denial — modem society. This is the 
vision of All Saints* Day; and I challenge all the 
new religions to match it in nobihty and beauty. 

Are we fit within to belong to that world which 
exists here on earth as truly, though not so fairly, 
as it exists beyond this sorrowful star? As life 
goes on, are we growing in that love of God which 



means love of His character — of justice and pity, of 
longsuffering and gentleness, of giving all we have 
to give, of truth and righteousness, of the things 
which by their very nature are infinite and eternal ? 
Is that desire to save others, which was in Christ 
Jesus, the master joy of our heart ; so that if we 
be set in the other world to redeem by love those 
who have lost themselves on earth, no work could 
give us greater pleasure? Is the sense of com- 
munion through love with the saintly spirits of un- 
known worlds, with the Apostles, Prophets, Martyrs, 
and lovers of the race, deepening in our heart ? 
Are we getting rid of the prejudices of caste and 
colour, of education and nationality, of the follies 
which are based on privilege, of the intolerance 
of isolating sects and Churches, of all that makes 
for separation and violates the unity of humanity ; 
living in the world that is beyond the divisions 
of capital and labour, noble and not noble, learned 
and unlearned, pharisee and outcast, guilty and not 
guilty ; and working out our life on the one and only 
ground on which, before God Almighty, we stand — on 
the foundation of our common humanity, our common 
childhood to the Father? Then we shall not be 
strangers, when we pass the border of that high 
land, among that mighty host whose cry is this — 
" Man is One, as God is One, in Love." 



This is one of the great conceptions for which we 
ought to live and act and speak. It is the tendency 
of religious bodies to isolate themselves from the 
world they call profane, to separate themselves from 
the greater social movements, to shut themselves 
up, when they are reproached or attacked, sometimes 
in pride, sometimes in anger, sometimes in silent 
chill, sometimes in a too great conservatism. We 
should always guard against that tendency, and con- 
tending against every form of it, open our souls 
wider and wider to everything which is human ; 
while we answer all attacks by a greater and ever 
greater practice of the grace and love of Jesus. 
There ought to be no body of men more in sympathy 
with all that is human than those who have estab- 
lished themselves on the foundation of the unex- 
elusive Fatherhood of God, and who with a full 
heart believe that, when humanity is finished, all its 
members shall be Saints of God. For that belief we 
live and labour, and in that belief we shall die. 

Its completion belongs to the world to come, for 
all the past humanity is there being wrought towards 
that close, and we know that the present humanity 
will need long and divine handling; but for the 
future humanity we have a greater hope. We look 
forward to a world of men, here on this earth, who 
may be much nearer to the divine love and holiness 



than we have yet conceived. It is diiEcult to 
imagine this higher world, face to face as we are 
with the noise and battle of a thoughtless and 
cruel society. We are often ready to despair; 
but we hope when we look back at history. Into a 
world steeped to the lips, as the Roman world was, 
with caste ideas and privileged arrangements, this 
thought of the intercommunion of all nations, classes, 
and societies in One Father, each man sharer of the 
same divine spirit and inflamed by one love, was 
introduced ; it came like a ray of light into thick dark- 
ness. It grew till the darkness thrilled with light, till 
the world was new bom in the Spirit, and the poor 
had the kingdom of God. It was the first step 
towards our latter-day conception of an international 
unity; and through all the wars which devastated 
Europe and the wickedness which cursed the Church 
— it still preserved, and in revolution after revolution 
confirmed, the idea of the unity of all men in a 
righteous and loving God. It still lives on, and is 
the undying enemy of the tyrants of mankind. 
There, under its banner, is our post; and in that 
more open world of thinking which we are approach- 
ing in England, it should be our endeavour to get 
nearer and nearer on earth to that human union of 
all in divine love, which exists in heaven, and is its 



This IS not so Utopian as it was. The last 
hundred years have made a vast difference, and the 
last thirty years have deepened the difference, 
between the old and new conceptions of society, as 
they have between the old and new conceptions of 
Christianity. That which would have been laughed at 
by our grandfathers as impossible, and if possible 
subversive of society — the comity of nations, the 
disappearance of disunion among men, the actual 
brotherhood of men — has partly become a matter of 
experience, is partly a matter of deep desire; and 
thousands are working steadily for its fulfilment. 
Nearer than before, but as yet further than we 
wish, is the day when the will of love shall be 
done on earth as it in heaven. 

It is something for the old to^ know, before they 
depart, that the course of the world tends more swiftly 
to that end. It is well to die and leave behind on 
earth, not darkness but the light of dawn, and with 
that faint light in our eyes to join the great assembly 
of the Saints and talk of what earth is doing. It is 
better still for those who have twenty years before 
them. Let them hold their torch on high and pro- 
claim by voice and deeds that the day of the Lord 
draws more nigh. It is best of all for the young. 
There is so much for them to do, so much to think 
strongly and to feel nobly, that their life is certain 



— if they be faithful and true to righteous love — to 
be filled to the brim with high passion and keen ex- 
citement burning steadily, fed with the oil of prayer, 
and inspired by faith in God the Father of man- 
kind. They will see, I trust, more than the light of 
dawn. They will look with joy on the sun risen on 
the earth ; they shall hear a multitude whom no man 
can number praising God for a lovelier, freer and 
juster society ; and they shall banish to their native 
night those ideas of modern society which the 
mighty conception of the Communion of Saints now 
contradicts and will hereafter overthrow. 




Follow me. 

St. Luke ix. 59 

THE reasoning intellect of man, with all its great 
and useful capacities, has no capacity for 
knowing two matters — the things which belong to 
love, and the things which belong to beauty ; that is, 
the things which belong to religion, and the things 
which belong to art. The very highest intellect, 
working only within itself and by the fullest possi- 
ble use of its means, is totally incapable of compre- 
hending what the love of God is in the soul, or what 
losing one's life for others is ; and is equally incap- 
able of comprehending or knowing what beauty is, 
or how it lives and moves in poetry, in music, or in 
the other arts. The world in which these things 
abide and act is far beyond its ken. Indeed these 
two sets of things — those which have to do with God 
as love, and our love for Him and one another; 
and those which have to do with beauty, are one. 
All things that belong to love are beautiful, and 



all things that are beautiful have their source in 

If the statement that the methods used by the 
reasoning faculty have no application and are of no 
use in the world of religion, we might fairly chal- 
lenge it. Such a uniqueness would lead us to dis- 
trust it at first hand. But it does not stand alone. 
As the religious man lives by love of an invisible 
righteousness and love which directly deal with him, 
but his belief in which no intellectual power he 
possesses can either analyse or demonstrate — so the 
artist lives by faith in an infinite and immeasurable 
beauty of which he only knows a part, but of which 
he is certain he will know more and more, if he be 
faithful in pursuit of it. And this beauty he also 
knows that he cannot analyse, nor can he demonstrate 
its existence. His knowledge of it is gained only 
by love of it, not by understanding it. In pursuing 
it, he uses no intellectual powers ; nay, he frequently 
violates or transcends the methods and the laws 
those, powers lay down as necessary. The state- 
ment then made with regard to the world of religion 
is not unique. It is equally true with regard to the 
world of art. Blake was curiously right when he 
said : ** Christianity is art, and art is Christianity." 
Religion can be expressed in terms of art, and art 

in the terms of religion. 



Hence, we are bound to say (and the present time 
calls on us to say it as clearly as possible), first ; 
That those intellectual formulas of religious truth 
which we call creeds, confessions and schemes of 
salvation, which are the work throughout not of the 
spiritual but of the logical faculty, are matters of 
which we ought to get rid ; if they impose themselves 
on us as necessary for the religious life, or as perma- 
nent or infallible forms of spiritual truth. Secondly, 
That till we get rid of their tyranny, we shall not 
be able to simplify our life, or to get down to the root 
ideas of the life of God with man or of man with God. 

One thing, however, the intellect has done for 
religion at the present time. It advances, like our 
other powers, and as it advances it clears away a 
great deal that it once clung to as absolutely true. 
It made scientific schemes of salvation, fixed and 
logical formulas of truth, elaborate arrangements of 
doctrines, proofs of the necessity of miracles for a 
basis of faith. All these the scientific and critical 
work of the intellect has in the last sixty years 
done its best to clear away, and we owe it sincere 
thanks for the honest work it has performed in its 
own sphere. We are now able to see spiritual 
truths without the veils which the scholastic intel- 
lect had woven round them. All that the reasoning 
faculty employed on spiritual things made, and 



which ecclesiastics infected with the worldly desire 
of power imposed on us as necessary for salvation, 
the same reasoning faculty, in its amusing way, has 
now unmade. The only thing it retains from the 
old time is its desire of power ; and it does its best, 
in the hands of those philosophic, ethical and scien- 
tific persons who ignore a spiritual being in man, to 
retain that power by insisting on its own supremacy 
as absolutely necessary for a happy, wise, and even 
a good life. 

The intellect has thus devoured its own children. 
A number of dogmas, of creeds which confined 
illimitable ideas in limited forms of thought, of 
theories with regard to the nature of God, the 
relation of persons in the Godhead, the twofold 
nature in Christ, the infallible authority of the Bible 
or of the Church, the logical necessity of miracle, 
the nature of man in relation to the universe — these 
and many others were the creation of the critical 
and analysing intellect of man working in the realm 
of its own vanity. With equal vanity, the same 
critical intellect, having brought them forth and 
educated them, has now eaten them up, and smacks 
its lips with satisfaction over the work it has done. 
It is a very unnatural mother. But it is a way it 
has, and it is now employed in bringing forth new 

children, in making new formulas, in educating new 



baby-theories of religion and of morals, in labelling 

and correlating the whole spiritual universe, one 

single imagination of which it is unable to see or 

comprehend. We may be sure that before fifty 

years are over, it will play the cannibal again among 

the new theories it has invented with regard to 

what it calls " religious " or " ethical " truth ; and all 

the more quickly because its present theories are for 

the most part negative, and like children that have 

no individuality are not likely to engage their 

mother's affection. 

It has destroyed all that it chooses and chose to 

call Christianity, and now it says that Christianity 

does not exist. But the real fact is, that what it has 

destroyed is not Christianity, but its own scheme of 

Christianity ; and a very good thing it is that it has 

wrought this destruction. In the hands of the 

Jewish priesthood and afterwards of the Christian 

priesthood, it hated spiritual truth of old because 

spiritual truth claimed to be independent of it. It 

seized it, claimed to analyse it and define it for all 

men ; froze its free waters into icy intellectual forms ; 

and invented, to support these, laws and ceremonies. 

These, it said, are unchangeable and permanent. 

Then it allied itself with imperialism and the class 

systems of the world, and, greedy of power, imposed 

its schemes and doctrines on the spirit of men, and, 



menacing damnation, debased and terrified the heart 
of humanity. 

It called its work the Christian religion ; but what 
it invented had nothing whatever to do with Christ ; 
and the practice it carried out blackened and violated 
the character of Jesus. In its exclusiveness, in its 
negations, in its law of sin and death, it contradicted 
at almost every point the law of the universal love 
of God, and of man's universal love of his brothers. 
And now, we, who care for Christ, and whose 
deepest life is in following what He said, only smile 
at the destruction the critical intellect has wrought 
upon its own past work ; and think that the attack 
it is so proud of making now on the things of 
the spirit will be equally impermanent. Once it 
was too positive, and tried to force us to believe 
that its logical arrangements were spiritual truth ; 
now it is too negative and says we are not to believe 
in the spiritual at all. One is as foolish as the other. 
The fact is that it does not matter a pin what the 
reasoning and critical faculty, working alone, says 
in support of or in attack on spiritual truth. It is 
equally incompetent, whatever side it take, to settle 
any spiritual question, or to lead us to know any- 
thing vital about God, and our life with Him. 

Spiritual truth becomes ours by love, not by 
reasoning. We must love God or we shall never 



comprehend Him. Man must be loved or we shall 
never know human nature. It is only when we love 
the spiritual ideas — those which afterwards we come 
to call spiritual truths — that we begin to believe that 
they have been given to our nature, and developed in 
it from within us, by One whom in time we learn to 
call our Father. Immortal life must be loved before 
its full meaning opens before us. Sacrifice of self 
must be loved for its own sake and done for love 
of it, before we know that it is life eternal. Righte- 
ousness must be loved for itself before we can be 
filled with it. Jesus our Master must be loved 
before He shall seem the worthiest to be loved, 
before we know His life to be the life of the soul. 
Love is first, and on love comes knowledge in these 
matters. Only love — living, enkindled, active 
emotion, in which we lose ourselves in joy and 
peace — can know and do the truths which bind God 
to Man and Man to God ; which make, that is, 

Is the reasoning faculty, then, of no use in matters 
pertaining to religion ? It is of use within its own 
sphere; in matters which can be investigated, 
analysed, criticised or demonstrated. It is the part 
of the intellect to record the history of religious 
movements and of religious dogma, and these afiairs 

have much interest for the intellect. It is sometimes 



useful to analyse the various aspects of religion in 
the minds of men, and the different forms into which 
distinct nations have cast their schemes of religious 
life. The history of doctrines is entertaining ; it 
reveals the fancifulness of humanity, it convinces us 
of the manifoldness of human nature. Even for the 
inner life of the soul, it is at times needful to illus- 
trate, divide, compare, to place in different lights, 
by means of the philosophic intellect, the truths 
which the spirit of love alone can comprehend ; 
but we must beware lest we fall in love with this 
intellectual work and think it spiritual ; for when 
these things are thought to be in themselves 
religious, of any vital importance to the life of God 
in the soul, they drown, in the end, that life, they 
shut out God, and they paralyse that love of man 
which is the natural result of love of God the Father. 
Moreover, when these things are thought to be 
spiritual, or to have any real importance for the 
attainment of divine truth, they cause an unutter- 
able trouble and weariness — the very thing the 
Christian life ought to take away. We labour for 
that which is not needful for goodness in life ; for 
that kind of knowledge which hides Christ and over- 
clouds the vision of God ; for that which satisfieth 
not ; we pursue, year after year, an apparent know- 
ledge which produces in the end only ruinous pride 



or passionless despair. Nor is this the only result 

of this false way of seeing religion. We are drawn 

away by it from realities to unrealities, from what 

is vital to that which is dead, from what is needful 

for human life to that which is not needful, from 

the work of love to the idleness of argument. We 

spend most uselessly a mass of time on reasoning 

concerning God and His truth; whether we can 

know Him or not; and if we had asked Jesus 

about what we had done, He would have answered : 

"That was not needful, nor had it to do with the 

matter. The thing is simple ; Blessed are the pure 

in heart, for they shall see God." And were He 

asked further He would have replied : ** I am the 

good shepherd ; and I know mine own and mine 

own know me, even as my Father knoweth me and 

I know the Father." And the reason He knew His 

sheep was love of them. " I lay down my life for 

the sheep." And the reason why God knew Him 

and He knew God, and why His own knew Him, was 

one and the same — Love, and nothing else. And 

to attain knowledge of the things of the spirit in 

that way of love is the source of infinite joy and 

rest in life, of peace and praise within. 

It is different indeed when we attempt to reach 

the things of the spirit through argument. To 

transfer them from the region of love and of clear 






being into the region of the intellect and its illusions, 
is, like all foolish things — that is, things which are 
against the nature of the universe — the source of 
infinite anger and weariness. We know what hap- 
pens when any great misfortune or circumstance 
of passion which touches the depths of life gets the 
mastery over our thought and will. All the think- 
ing in the world will not disperse it ; on the contrary, 
it only deepens the tyranny of the trouble. Yet, in 
spite of our knowledge of the uselessness of our 
thinking, we cannot cease it ; we are like the worn- 
out horse who moves round the pillar in the mill — 
but we are sadder than he. He knows that the 
mill-stones within go round, but we know more ; we 
know we do not grind corn, but chaff. We come 
to no conclusion. Yet, in spite of this knowledge, 
we are lashed by our enslaved will into incessant 
movement round our sorrow, till the world is 
sickened to us, and we are furious with our slavery. 
If we could but break the chain which binds us to 
ourselves, and working in the quiet fields of humanity 
drink of the brook of self- forge tfulness, we should be 
happy ; escaping from our pain ; learning to admire 
and love ; feeling for the sorrows and joys of others 
far more than for our own ; impassioned for beauty 
in God, in nature, and in man ; no longer lost to 

divine imaginations in the labyrinth of our own self- 



sorrows. We cannot love these splendours of God, 
for we are in love with our self; and self-love is 
the very contrary of love. 

This, which is true in the realm of the affections, 
is true in the realm of the intellect when it thinks 
it can investigate or prove spiritual truth. Men, 
and women even more than men, (for they are more 
enslaved by the understanding than men,) cannot 
leave off arguing about religious truths ; wholly 
enthralled by the questions they create ; and all the 
more enthralled because they are strangely vain of 
their cleverness in this debate. Day after day they 
read and argue and talk till they are dazed. 
Article after article, theory after theory, book after 
book — each adds a new confusion, a new torment. 
It is a piteous sight. They wheel and plod round 
their post, grinding their chaff into dust, till the 
world within them is sick, and the world without 
them is lost ; and nature and man scarcely ever say 
anything to them. There is but little faith or 
hope, or admiration, or love, or joy left in their 
lives. They are choked with the dust of their own 
intellect employed on matters with which it has 
nothing to do. At last they are too wearied to 
think any more, and there are those who die of 
this grinding folly or creep to the grave, death in 
their heart. Others escape, and of these there are, 



at the present time, two types especially who are in 
sharp contrast one to the other. 

The first of these breaks the chain, and, full of 
self-mockery, looks with opened eyes on all the 
chaff he has been grinding. " And this," he says, 
" I once thought to be corn ! To this I have given 
my life, my thinking, even what of love and imagina- 
tion I possessed. I turn away from it now with 
disenchantment, with pain, with hatred. There is 
nothing to feed me here, nothing to kindle the old 
life and joy which I had when I was young. Every- 
thing which seemed to be religious truth, is empty 
husks, not fit for the swine to eat. I will believe 
and hope and love these things no more." 

And so he wanders far away, and, as his nature or 
his humour is, lives his life without God, or hope of 
immortality, or care for the ideal aims of the spirit ; 
sometimes alone in self-scorn, sometimes with dim 
regrets which he drowns in work or in pleasure, 
sometimes in selfishness — while others of a different 
temper turn to labour for man, and to that life of 
sacrifice which is all the more noble in them, because 
they now think that man shall perish like the snows 
of yesterday. There are many ways men take the 
ruin of their old religious life, or what seemed their 
religion ; but however they take it, they never return 
to their first position. What they get is something 



else, if they get anything. Men cannot embrace a 
ghost once they know it to be a ghost. 

But there is a question this type of men might ask 
themselves, if they were not too weary, if they had 
some religious temper in them. Instead of saying, 
"There is no such thing as any spiritual truth," 
they might say, '* Perhaps I have made a mistake. 
May there not be some corn that I can grind ? Is 
there nothing I can do less full of weariness — some- 
thing human, simple, natural, loving; less matter 
of argument, more matter of feeling rightly; not 
needing thinking about at all, but only joyous and 
ailectionate action among human creatures that I 
love." So he might ask, but alas ! he has so long 
practised only his understanding, and is now so 
proud of its working at complex problems in his 
own mind, that it does not occur to him to find 
things through love, or to care for what is simple. 
Cumbered and troubled by reiterated analysis of 
life and metaphysical problems, he cannot enter into 
the lives of men and women, nor arrive at that 
childlike heart which alone enters into the kingdom 
of God. " My intellect must be convinced," he says. 
Alas ! after so many years of failure is he still so 
blind ? Has he not yet learnt that as long as he 
sets the mere intellect to work on spiritual truth, 
he will have no corn to grind ; that as long as any 



pride in his reasonings remains he cannot have love 
of man ? 

What he does not do, the other, the second type, 
adventures. He, too, breaks his chain ; he, too, 
looks at all the weary work he has gone through 
and knows that it is illusion; he, too, finds out 
that he has only ground chaff into dust. 

*' And I seemed to love it all so well," he says, 
"and yet could it be loved at all? How could I 
love argumentative criticism, analysis of doctrines, 
logical schemes, and the labour of the understand- 
ing ? They could not love me in return. I begin to 
feel that all these weary years I have only loved 
my own self — the pleasure I had in the working of 
my own brain, my own intelligence and its exercise. 
And is love of self, or of self-thinking, love at all ? 
Must not love, to be love, love something other 
than one's own, and live, not for the sake of intel- 
lectual vanity and satisfaction, but for the sake of love 
itself? Does not God ask us to love Him, and to 
love man, in order that we may cease to think about 
our own thoughts, and to be proud of them ; in order 
that we may escape from the shadow of ourselves ? 
Is not that escape from one's self the very root of 
the true spiritual life ? That I will now try ! " 

" How wearisome, how corroding, how exacting, 

what an endless round it has been I How complex, 



how bitter, how unrested, how unbeautiful ! How 
eagerly I have made my own whip, and how I have 
scourged myself to keep up the pursuit of myself; 
and all the time I never saw any spiritual truth — 
only my own image of what it was. But that is 
no reason why there should be no spiritual and 
imaginative truth, nor why I should not find it. The 
discovery I have made that I have taken the wrong 
road should urge me forwards to find the right. 
Therefore I will not give up my search for God, 
and the truth about Him, and about man. There 
is a ceaseless whisper in my heart which drives me 
on ; which tells me love is to be found, that faith 
and hope are alive, that forgetfulness of self is 
possible ; that doing the life which flows from these 
noble powers is in my power. I must know God ; 
and know Him as my Father and the father of my 
fellow men. And when I know Him, I will walk 
with Him in and out among men as one who loves 
on earth walks with another whom he loves." 

And so, like one set free from a gloomy prison, 
not knowing well where to go, but with faith in 
coming light and hoping for coming life, he left 
the prison-mill where he had ground at chaff so long ; 
and rejoicing, and with his heart open and awake, 
passed through the sweet fields, in the fresh dew of 
the dawn of a new life, by the running stream and 

177 M 


through the whispering conii until he came upon 
the lake of Galilee — and standing by the waters, 
his soul lost in prayer, he met with Jesus. " Who 
art thou," he cried, ''whose look is so untroubled ?" 
And he was answered — " I am Jesus of Nazareth 
and I will give you rest." 

" O Master, they say many things about you, and 
I have been wearied with much thinking, but I 
would fain know God." And Jesus answered : 
" Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see 
God," and as He spoke. He looked as if He beheld 
the shining of God's countenance. "And is that 
all," the questioner replied, " shall I have no labour 
of argument, no decision to make between this 
doctrine and that doctrine ? " And Jesus answered, 
for He saw that the vanity of the understanding 
was still with this disciple — *' Learn of me, for I am 
meek and lowly of heart, and thou shalt find rest to 
thy soul." "So it is true," the other said, "it is 
with a child's heart of love and trust that I must 
enter the kingdom of God. I will try what that 
will do. I will love, and live by love.*' "Yes," 
said Jesus, " thou hast been cumbered with much 
thinking, but one thing is needful. Choose that 
good part which shall not be taken away from 
you. Choose love of the Father and love of the 




But said the questioner, " How far shall I love, 
for I have heard of a hundred limitations ? " And 
Jesus answered, " Love your enemies, love them 
that hate you, and thou shalt be the child of thy 
Father in heaven, who maketh His sun to shine 
upon the evil and the good, on the just and the 
unjust." "Then God is Love indeed," replied the 
seeker, ** and if I love and forgive, I must know Him, 
for I shall be like Him ; — but yet, will He receive 
me, for I have fed on husks, and followed my own 
will, and put away what I knew to be right ; and 
now that I have come to myself, will He accept His 
wilful child ? Can He forgive, can He love me ? " 

And then he heard, told in his heart, the story 

of the prodigal son*s retuni, and with what rapture 

he was welcomed. " But," pursued the questioner, 

"that is just what a mother on earth would do, 

whose cnly son had remembered her love, and fled to 

home at last. Is God like that? Any child can 

know Him, then, and love Him. It is simple above 

measure ; and I — I have spent years in asking if He 

could forgive at all ; or if He could, in what fashion 

He could manage it ; what atonement, and how an 

atonement could be made ; what ordinances I must 

fulfil, what doctrines believe in, what ceremonies 

go through ; what Church, what confession I must 

cling to ? " 




Ah," said Jesus, ** the kingdom of God is within 
you. Why did you not look into your own heart, 
and ask what love would urge. If you lost one sheep 
out of a hundred, what would you do ? " 

" I could not bear it," he replied ; '* how could I 
leave it to die in the snow when I could save it ? I 
would seek it till I found it, and bring it home with 


" So also feels your Father in heaven," said Jesus 

" Then," answered the other, " my love is God's 
love, only less than His ; and all I justly and simply 
feel is His also. He is within me ; I am His 
and He is mine. I never can be parted from Him 
while I love. And that is all — the simplest, most 
beautiful, most human thing in the world — to be 
one with Love, to live among my brothers as God 
lives with me." 

And Jesus smiled and said, "Yes, that is All. 
Think no more about it, do it for my sake." 

And when the questioner lifted his eyes, the quiet 
figure was no longer there; only the glimmering 
level of the lake, and the morning that dreamed 
upon it. But he needed no more. He had heard 
the one universal truth. The deep foundation of 
spiritual life had been laid within him. He loved, 
and he knew at last through love. The sun had 



arisen in his heart. He forgot his thoughts, his 
torment, his care and his sins ; he forgot himself. 
God, Man, and Nature filled his heart with love, 
and in the love was life everlasting. And he heard 
the lark in his heart singing : " Rejoice evermore." 
And he saw the daisies at his feet, bringing beauty 
into all places of the earth, and their eyes said : 
" Be lowly of heart ; bear witness everywhere to the 
simplicity of love ; and you will make beauty blossom 
in human life, and in your own heart, and in the 
world to come." And over the water, borne by 
every ripple of the morning, came the voice of Jesus : 
'* Follow, follow me. Take up thy cross and follow. 
Let not your heart be troubled. Be of good cheer, 
I have overcome the world." 






















to ■ 




He is net here ; for he is risen, as he said, 

St. Matthew xxviii 6 

WHEN the Christian Church, long after the 
death of its Master, looked back upon His 
life, and on all that since His departure had 
happened to fill the hearts of His followers with 
heavenly joy and hope, they made, or rather there 
grew up among them, in order to express their deep 
emotion, the poetic story with which the birth of 
Jesus was celebrated. It is a story in which the 
shepherds of the hills and the wise men of the East, 
and the host of heaven are all united in one 
exalting joy. Out of the hearts of the poor who 
flocked into the open doors of the Church of Christ 
and found peace and pleasure of heart in the love of 
Jesus, flowed the wonderful beauty of this ancient 
poem. The poor in it were visited by heaven ; 
into the souls of men who had none of the joys of 
this world poured the melodies of celestial happiness. 
There were none to notice this poor clan, none to 



care much whether they lived or died. Save the 
few that in rude huts looked for their return from 
the hills of Bethlehem — women as poor as they 
and as little known — they had none to love them. 
But the heavens were opened for them; the glory 
of the Lord shone round about them. 

The story represented the thoughts, the emotions 
of the multitudes of the poor that in the first and 
second centuries heard for the first time that they 
were blessed ; that God loved them, that a Saviour 
had died for love of them. In every lane of the 
Greek cities and of Syrian towns, in great Rome 
itself, in the quarries and the workshops where the 
slaves toiled and died, among the oppressed who 
had no hope on earth — in the hearts of these for 
whom the great and learned cared nothing — there 
was now unspeakable riches which the world could 
not take away, deep peace, immortal joy, undying 
love. They saw what priests and kings saw not ; 
they saw the face of God, and It was the face of a 
Father. The Angel of the Lord came upon their 
misery, and the glory of the Lord shone round about 
their daily life. They heard all day the multitude of 
the heavenly host praising God, and saying — Glory 
to God in the highest. 

In the deadly mines, in the midnight of the prison, 

in the fierce death of the amphitheatre, the counte- 



nance of Jesus for whom they died smiled on them, 
and His voice spoke comfort. Eye saw not, and 
ear heard not what their spirit heard and saw. 

This poem then of the Nativity of Jesus recorded 
their daily experience, and that experience was 
exalted joy. And with their own delight was 
mingled — and this also is embodied in the story — 
their deep conviction that their joy was shared by 
the spiritual beings of the larger world beyond this 
troubled earth. The angels felt with them; the 
infinite host of the Blessed rejoiced in heaven in 
the happiness of their companions on the earth. 

The same thoughts belong to the stories which 
soon took form around the belief on which Christi- 
anity rests — " That Jesus is alive in the world 
beyond this world, that Death had no power to 
destroy His personality." In all the stories which 
are told in the Gospels of the Resurrection, the one 
great point is the overwhelming joy which filled the 
hearts of those who knew that Jesus was not dead, 
but alive for evermore with God ; that they, with 
him, were the children of eternal life. 

And well might they rejoice, for, indeed, that which 
seemed defeated and slain on Calvary — the teaching, 
the personal power, of Christ over the soul — ^had 
risen again into a wonderful life ; was born again in 
the heart of humanity to deathless life and power 



and love. Nor was this all. As in the first range of 
stories, so in the second, it was not only earth that 
rejoiced, but also heaven ; not only men that were 
comforted, but the host of heaven itself. The 
Angels are represented at the tomb, and cry with 
exultation : " He is not here ; He is risen." 

There are those who smile, even with some 
scorn, at the belief that there is a world of spiritual 
beings who feel with us on earth and take part in 
our history. But if there be such a living world, it 
is surely natural that they should care for us, since 
Love is the very breath of their life. And I believe 
that in the hearts of all the high spiritual creatures, 
there is a knowledge of the spiritual history of man- 
kind ; and that they follow with faithful sympathy 
the progress of the individual and of the race. And 
if so, it is but natural to think they will have their 
special delight and praise at certain times when the 
great events of the history of our slow salvation take 
their beginning and their end ; when, as at the 
Easter-tide, Jesus, having accomplished His mission, 
entered victorious into the spiritual world beyond the 
grave. Yes, whenever man or woman is bom whose 
destiny it is to bring man nearer to God, to save the 
sorrowful and the lost; whenever a great warrior 
for God lays down his arms and enters into his 
peace, leaving salvation for men behind him — there 



is knowledge of it elsewhere than upon earth, a great 
sound of delight in a higher world. It pleases me 
to think that if there is daily joy among the heavenly 
hosts over one sinner that repenteth, there are out- 
bursts of more solemn, splendid and widespread 
rejoicing in the heavenly realms when the great 
hours of Redemption strike in the history of 

At Easter-time then, as at Christmas-tide, our 
thoughts are borne into a world of joy beyond this 
sorrowful surface ; and, whatever be our outward 
pain, we are filled within with rejoicing. It is laid 
upon us as a duty that life ought to have a basis of 
joy. It was so with Jesus. None suflfered more 
than He ; but in the depths of His spirit there was 
always rapture, always the song of the heavenly 
host. Few have borne more of the ills of life than 
St. Paul. Yet, he could cry — "Rejoice evermore." 
No touch of the Cross fell upon him that did not 
bring with it the travelling by of some inward 
delight. The passage from Calvary is always 
towards Easter. The hours of death in life are 
succeeded by the hours of resurrection. Below 
the pains of our outward being lies deep the joy 
which is the true foundation of life. This is our 
Christmas lesson, and our Advent truth. 

It is a lesson and a truth which is too far away 



from us. In the world in which we live, we 
encourage the opposites of joy, and lose half the 
use of life. We weigh ourselves down with burdens 
of sorrow which are the results of our selfish 
thoughts and selfish desires ; and every one of these 
burdens lessens our power to live righteously in 
ourselves, and to live usefully for others. 

(i) We are men, we are told, destined to sorrow. 
This is a common cry, and the worst of it is that 
our society seems to pride itself upon this cowardice, 
and to take pleasure in representing it in literature, 
in the pulpit, in the press, in art, and in conversa- 
tion. We dash our natural happiness with self- 
introspection, with recollections of sorrow which we 
nurse like beloved children. We stain our pleasures 
with monotonous repetition till we reacii satiety ; 
and then we blame destiny. And after that folly, 
we put all joy away with philosophic contempt, than 
which there is nothing more stupid ; or with religious 
gloom, than which there is nothing more irreligious ; 
and I declare, that, terrible as the suffering of men 
and women is in this world, yet that more than 
half its worst elements arises out of their wilful 
indulgence in self-torture. 

Most of our pains would be cleared away if we 
would let ourselves alone ; if we were human enough 
and divine enough to have our highest interest and 



excitement, like that of the angel hosts, in the good 
and happiness of others than ourselves. God is 
blamed for our misery ; fate is blamed ; anything is 
blamed but our own self-involvement. The true 
thing to blame is our own gloomy, greedy self, 
hugging our pain like a fetish, worshipping it within, 
sacrificing to it, like a savage, one natural joy after 
another, one use of life after another. The idolatry 
of pain and grief, whether it be personal, or that 
common pretence of sorrow for the miseries of man 
— is one of the most debasing of idolatries. 

The sooner we are ashamed of this folly and 
wrong the better. That is a fetish we should fling 
into the flame of love; and when we have done 
that boldly, we can go forth, no longer sympathising 
with our own sorrow, to sympathise with the sorrows 
of other men. In doing that, we shall soon reach 
joy, soon be able to cry — "Glory to God in the 
highest ; " soon be able to say — *' My life is not dead, 
but like my Master's, is arisen. My futile sorrows 
lie, like the grave-clothes, in the tomb, but I am 
alive in love for evermore." 

(2) There is another element in modern society 

which stands in the way of joy fulness in life, and that 

is the mastery which selfish work has taken over life. 

Work is one of the best things in the world, and it 

is urged on us by Christ. But, by itself, and done 



by men only for their own private advantage, it is 
often a curse ; and Jesus balanced it by such phrases 
as this, " Take no overthought for the morrow ; the 
morrow will take thought for the things of itself." 

It is this balancing weight in the scales that a 
great deal of modem society has lost ; and with its 
loss, joy has fled away. The fanatic asceticism of 
work in which so many spend their whole days is so 
fierce that it renders all love of man and all delight 
in Nature impossible. I do not know which is most 
wonderful and most sad — ^the sight of the idlers who 
do nothing, or of the workers who enjoy nothing 
but working for themselves. Both are enslaved. 
They have given their hearts away to the world, a 
sordid boon ! Both have the world's reward— ^the 
idler his pleasure, the worker his success ; and both 
have also the spiritual punishment — loss of the true 
use of life, and the inward joylessness which darkens 
their declining years. 

I do not speak of the idlers. We look on them 

with wonder and pass them by. But when we are 

absorbed in making a fortune ; when we give the 

whole of life to reading ; when we cannot break into 

the daily round of business ; when we give every 

energy we possess to the household ; when all our 

work is for ourselves alone and our family ; when 

the end of all work is limited to our own purse, our 



own iotellect, our own gratification, our own repute ; 
when self-interest fills every hour — work (which by 
itself is neither good nor bad, which is good or bad 
only in reference to its end, and only good when it 
ends beyond ourselves) is one of the worst successes 
of life, for it gives disease to the soul. All the 
means of true joy are put out of our possession. 
Absorbed like this in ourselves, how can we take an 
eager pleasure in the battle of mankind for right, in 
its long struggle to attain perfection, or taste the 
exultation of the war ? How can we live in harmony 
with the long traditions of Christmas or of Easter joy ? 
And if we cannot escape from our selfish work to feel 
with man, how can we feel with nature ? Does the 
splendour of the May morning make our heart beat ; 
can we hear the music of the spheres at night rush- 
ing through the circling stars ; can we see, beneath 
all pain, the glories that encompass us — the love ot 
God resistlessly urging men towards the goal of 
perfect life ; the infinite thought of God creating, as 
it thinks, the universe ; and hear the rhythmic beat 
of both moving through immortal joy — sounds and 
visions of the spirit which, if we could comprehend, 
our heart could not contain itself for delight ? 

Alas, if we have lost these powers, or never gained 
them, we are but half a man ; unable ever to sing, 
out of a full heart, the song of the Nativity, Glory 

193 N 


to God in the Highest ; unable ever to see the 
angels sitting by the tomb of our dead past, or hear 
them tell us to go forward, for our life is arisen into 
an Easter joy. Better, better far to be the shepherd 
on the hills, or the poor fisherman by the lake, than 
so deaf and blind a man. All the wealth made by 
all the selfish work of the world is dust and ashes in 
comparison to one hour of the things which God 
reveals to the heart of him who is arisen into the 
life of Jesus, into the life of self-forgetful love. 

(3) There is another element beyond selfish sad- 
ness or selfish work which takes away from us the 
joy of Easter. It is selfish religion. When we 
think only of our own salvation the joy of God de- 
parts from us. When we praise Him for ourselves 
alone, we end by being unable to praise at all. 
Praise cannot live in a soul which is imprisoned 
in self-congratulation. Thinking only of our own 
sins, and of their forgiveness, and of our own 
state before God, we isolate ourselves from the 
human race ; and, when we most claim Christ for 
our own, we most divide ourselves from Him who 
came to bind us up with all our brothers. What 
has Jesus to do with those who only have to do with 
themselves? We shall never find Him when we 
are musing on our own religious state in the closed 

chambers of our soul, and saying to ourselves, " God, 



I thank Thee I am redeemed." We shall only find 
Him when we seek Him going in and out among 
men and striving to redeem them. In saving others 
with Him, we shall win the delight we lose in 
selfish contemplation of our own redemption. Our 
true religious joy is found in the same self-forgetful 
delight the Christians of old gave in these stories of 
the angels on the hills and by the tomb — delight in 
salvation coming to the human race. There, in the 
mighty thought that all men are being educated by 
a Father into oneness with infinite Love, we find 
the true and lofty rapture, which, in the midst of our 
direst tribulation, should belong to men who have 
followed the Master and Deliverer of spiritual 
humanity from Nazareth to the death on Calvary, 
and then to the glory of Easter Day ; who, spring- 
ing off their own shadow into the sunshine of faith 
in the resurrection of mankind, can cry with the 
angels, ** Glory to God in the highest ; Man is 
arisen in Christ." 

This is our greatest Easter joy, and our Christmas 
joy. And indeed we need it. For while 1 dwell on 
ioy, I do not put aside the sorrow of mankind. The 
story of Christ Jesus is a mingled web of pain and 
pleasure ; and so is human life. The song of Beth- 
lehem was followed by the terrible cry of Calvary ; 
but a new song followed that woeful sorrow, and 



even the " Glory to God in the highest " was less 
rapturous and less glorious than " He is not here ; 
He is risen." Yes, mortal pain precedes our divinest 
joy ; for a long time keeps it company ; but at last 
it leaves it, and joy is alone in victory. ** In this 
world,*' said our Master, " ye shall have tribulation," 
for He knew our suffering ; " but be of good cheer, 
I have overcome the world," for He also knew our 

It is hard sometimes to feel the end in the midst 
of the trouble ; tor, as one year follows another, so 
follows one sorrow on another. We cannot but 
think, at every anniversary, unless the brightness of 
youth is with us, of all that is gone, of the love we 
have given and received and parted from, of the 
failure of hopes and the dimness of ideals, of the 
lessening of power, of the friends now no more who 
once gathered with us round the blazing hearth — 
ship after ship gone down, and we drifting on alone ! 

Whither ? we cry ; and there are those who 
answer, " We do not know," and others who, more 
bold, reply, *' Over the cataract to nothingness." 

Those are not answers we accept ; answers on 

the contrary that we deny. Were we to accept 

them, no high creative joy for man would be left in 

life. We sorrow enough ; but it were to double 

sorrow upon sorrow, if we were to believe that all 



mankind but passed across a stage, played out a 
tragedy, and fell on the other side into a voiceless 
depth ; while the Great Power beyond sat as a grim 
spectator in this world-theatre, amused by our vain 
endeavour, and purging His soul with the aspect of 
passions which He scorns, and sorrows for which He 
has no care. That we should perish might be borne. 
The individual might well conceive the sacrifice of 
his personal consciousness to the conscious life of 
the whole of man ; but that all men, from Christ 
on the Cross, through every stage of greatness and 
badness, to the blackest murderer of the souls of 
men, should meet annihilation of all intelligence and 
love and personality — this deepens every personal 
pain, makes revolting the misery of the world for 
uncounted ages, blackens our little life tenfold in 
blackening the whole of humanity, and adds to the 
blackness of it all the darker element of just self- 
contempt. To walk wherever we go with quicken- 
ing corruption does not relieve our pain, and de- 
stroys our joy. To sing, instead of " Glory to God 
in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill to 
Man," " Glory to annihilation in the abyss, and on 
earth Death and Death's ill-will to Man," is a dread- 
ful and a shameful thing. But those who say they 
believe in this destruction of love and life do not 

really believe in it any more than the orthodox 



believe in eternal hell. Both are too hateful, too 
outside of reason in its loftiest mood. The common 
sense of common love declares that both are lies. 

At least, that is not our belief who have known 
that Jesus is alive for evermore, and that as the 
Master is, so shall His brothers be. We know this 
when we have risen from a spiritual death of selfish- 
ness and sin into a new life of love and righteous- 
ness ; and when we know it for ourselves we rejoice 
in knowing it for our fellow men, even for those who 
know it not. Day by day our inward life deepens ; 
day by day the things which make for death fade 
away. We grow into the power of the Resurrection. 
Our years of failure we find turned into power ; our 
sins have been replaced by their opponent good- 
ness ; our sorrows have been turned into joy ; our 
work has lost its selfishness ; our religious life 
thinks no longer of its own salvation, but of the 
salvation of the world. The deepest basis of our 
life at last is joyfulness. 

Even age, which seems so bitter, is accompanied 

with such youthful stir in the depths of the soul, 

such change in the eternities of love and peace, that 

we feel, below the husk of life, and in the midmost 

of decay, that a new creature is being formed within 

us for a new life. The doors begin to open, we hear 

the host of heaven singing : *' Glory to God in the 



highest." A great peace, a profound joy are our 
guests within. "We are not here," we cry, "we 
are already risen." 

Nor, lastly, is this only personal. It is far more 
human and universal than personal. We have learnt 
to feel our own joy only by faith in the joy of the 
whole race, our personal resurrection only in the 
resurrection of the whole. Day by day, as our 
knowledge of the good in man deepens — ^the know- 
ledge we have won by walking with the love of 
Christ among men — day by day, as we think of the 
P^atlier who is educating all ; as the history of the 
race of man expands in our contemplation into a 
noble and musical movement towards a divine end ; 
we grow up into the final truth of God in all, and all 
in God ; until, as it were on a sudden — for such reve- 
lations, though long prepared, break into full splen- 
dour in a moment — the most ineffable joy of life is 
born within, and, lo, the angel of the Lord at the 
tomb of all humanity ; and when, trembling with de- 
light, we ask, "Where is mankind?" We are 
answered by the ancient words with a new and 
greater meaning, " Mankind is not here. All 
humanity is arisen." 




As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth 
my soul after Thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, 
for the living God. 

Psalms xlii. i. 2 

WHEN I pass through the streets, day after 
day, amid the crowds of London, and see 
the faces that glance for a moment at me, and I at 
them, the passion of the world almost overwhelms 
me. Desire looks out from the eyes of humanity as 
eagerly as a Queen from her tower window for the 
return of her warriors from the field where the fate 
of her empire and herself is to be decided. Some 
want, some noble or ignoble passion, some hope, some 
greed, some unfulfilled desire thirsts in every man and 
woman. Though the things thirsted for are different, 
the thirst itself is the same in kind ; but it varies indefi- 
nitely in degree. In some it parches always, in others 
it concentrates itself in moments ; but it never allows 
any of us to altogether rest. We are like wanderers 
through a dry land who find enough water to save 

them from death, but never enough to satisfy them. 



The very body is affected by the unquiet of inward 
desire. The moving hands, the walk, the attitudes, 
tell of the craving soul. Even in those who have 
learnt or inherited the mastery of the body, the 
mouth trembles, the eyes flash, in unguarded 
moments, and speak the cravings that are athirst 
within. ** My soul is athirst " is a universal cry ; 
the cry which, however men may make us descend 
from the brute, separates us from the brute by 
an infinite, unbridgeable gulf No brute has ever 
thirsted for fame, or wealth, or love as we under- 
stand it, for knowledge or for beauty. But we do. 

We thirst for fame. Ambition is a common 
passion, not only " that last infirmity of noble mind," 
but the first infirmity of ordinary men.- The way to 
fame is long and weary; and the common man 
turns to an easier desire. But the other who 
persists leaves behind the quiet ways, and strikes 
upwards to the mountain-top. The way is steep 
and rugged ; our very heart is worn before we win 
what we desired ; and when it is won, we are still 
in want. The pool on the mountain rock, at which 
on that lonely height we drink, is shallow; the 
water is brackish, and it is soon exhausted. " I 
am," we cry, " as thirsty as before, but I know not 
for what I thirst. God ! hast Thou brought me here 

only to prove that I have been mistaken all my life ? 



To win what I wished for, and find it as dry as a 
bone — the abyss of Being empty still, the craving 
of it for life still as fierce as when I was young." 
And God answers in his soul : " Of thine own will 
art thou here, not of mine. Earth's ambitions 
exhaust my children and are themselves exhausted. 
The true ambition is to be at one with me, thy 
Father. That is inexhaustible ; it does not exhaust, 
but empowers its pursuer; when thou art at one 
with me, the universe is thine." 

There are some who thirst for wealth. As the 
hart panteth after the water brooks, we long for 
money. Night and day we pursue the quest, 
bestowing on it the energies of immortality, sacri- 
ficing to it the noblest things we possess — time, will, 
love, character, conscience, pity, sensitiveness, 
imagination, humanity and God. And when we get 
it, we want more of it. The more we have the more 
we desire, till the passion for accumulation becomes 
a disease in the mind, and eats the soul like fire. 
In the fierce symbolism of the mediaeval hell, the 
avaricious drink of molten gold. There are those 
on earth in that hell now. As their money burns 
down the throat of their life it consumes their very 

Then, and above all, we thirst for love. There 

are they who seek the true, tender, and natural love. 



It is a noble thing to win. But it does not quench our 
thirst. Its waters speak of other waters of love, deeper 
and purer. If we think ourselves satisfied with per- 
sonal love, we are lost to the highest love. Home 
love, sweetheart love, married love, ought to outreach 
themselves, to expand to wider love, without losing 
their own sweetness ; or else their freshness, grace 
and charm depart. Love is of its nature infinite, and it 
seeks the infinite. Personal love ought to rise into 
love of our nation — thence into love of humanity, 
and thence at last into God. There in the infinite 
Affection it is at home. And in that home all love, 
from its beginning in personal love, is secured, 
animated, retains its morning charm, and lives an 
illimitable life. Its thirst is satisfied at last. 

Others thirst for false love, even for the pleasures of 
sensual appetite. No preacher can ignore this side of 
life; and its false passions, at intervals, invade society. 
We turn aside from the common, sweet meadows of 
natural and simple love, and long for the stormier 
lands, where we shall meet strange emotions, un- 
known experiences, sensations which excite, allure 
and thrill the heart — a life which will stir our 
languid pulse and kindle our exhausted flames. We* 
satisfy for a time this curious thirst, and what is the 
result? The same thirst awakens again, a fiercer 

craving than before, till our very central being — for 



the Angel of Love whom we have degraded belongs 
to our deepest life — is attainted. We are guilty of 
high treason to the very royalty in human nature. 
Not only body and soul are consumed with this 
craving, but the spirit also — all that embraces 
imagination, beauty, and religion, worship of God, 
love of man — is dragged captive and degraded at 
the heels . of our false desires. We have employed 
the noblest powers of the soul as slaves in the house 
of disordered love ; set the horses of the sun to draw 
the chariot of the flesh, used God Himself — there is 
nothing more common — to add a new touch of passion 
to iniquity ; and tainted all. And when we get 
our wish, we thirst again; and the thirst is the 
fiercer, because we have now lost the power of 
enjoying our false love. Evil passion has devoured 
the capability of passion, but the craving of it is 
the more tyrannic. This is to change our whole 
being into a greedy flame of hell. 

Many other are the thirsts of men, and when, 
pursuing all and arriving at their waters, we find 
them salt ; why then, at long last, the thirst for God 
awakes. " In vain," we cry, " I have drunk at 
earthly wells; I have not made desire less but 
more. In vain have I tried to cool my heart ; it 
burns as hotly as before. What is this unquench- 
able in me; what this eternal craving? Now and 



only now I know, or seem to know! It is the 
desire of the child for the Father ; of the soul for its 
source ; of the everlasting in me for the everlasting ; 
of the timeless and the spaceless in me for the 
illimitable ; of the dim sparks of the character of 
God in me for the immortal fire of His Being from 
whom they originally came. My soul is athirst for 
God, for the living God." 

This was the career the writer ran. Like Solomon, 
to whom he may have compared himself, he had 
tried all waters, followed all the rivers of human 
desire to their fountains, and whatever he had 
drunk, he had thirsted again. There was but one 
thing left to try, one head of waters as yet un- 
sought. Far off it seemed to be, as far as seemed 
the woodland stream he knows from the antelope 
who had drifted into the desert in the following of 
fancy, and who, wearied, stood lost under the 
burning sun. Well the poor beast knew that shady 
forest pool, where the stream came leaping clear and 
pure down the rocks ; sweet was the image of it in 
his memory, and bitter the passion of his desire for 
it — and well we know, when we find ourselves lost 
at last in the desert of doing our own will, what it 
is we want. There is a memory left in us of an- 
cient times, when, as children, we were content in 
innocence, when we drank, unconsciously, of God ; 



before we were lured away to try new paths ; and 
inconceivably fresh and pure seem to us those living 
streams, and the simple meadows through which 
they ran. And then, driven by the memory and the 
desire it awakens, we smite together into one the 
image of the lost and craving antelope and the image 
of the lost and craving heart within us — and cry 
aloud, " As the hart panteth after the water brooks, 
so longeth my soul after Thee, O God." 

See then, when it comes, how overmastering a 
thirst it is. No image could be more intense than 
that the writer uses. Every Oriental had seen an 
animal die of thirst, and imaged what it must have 
thought of as it died. And indeed the longing for 
God when at last it stirs is as intense ; and needs 
intensity. It needs that, because it is the highest 
aim of the soul, and the higher the aim the more 
impassioned is the pursuit. It is intense, because all 
the previous thirsts were its false forms, because this 
highest thirst was their moving power, and now 
takes into itself every grain of feeling that gave them 
vitality. The thirst for God is swollen by all the 
cravings of the past. 

It is that also, because we have at last clearly 

realised what we want, because now we know what 

will satisfy the soul, and where the satisfaction lies. 

As when we walk on a burning day, our thirst, 

209 o 


which has been bearable while we knew we. could 
not quench it, becomes ten times as great when we 
are told of a fountain five miles away \ so the soul, 
when it knows that God is its satisfaction, and has 
not yet found Him, feels its longing tenfold more 
than when it was ignorant. Well did Jesus know 
this intensity, and well He expressed it. " Whoso 
drinketh of this water shall thirst again, but whoso 
drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall 
never thirst. In him it shall be a fountain springing 
up into everlasting life." That water was the 
character of God and union with it. 

But the thirst for God is a term that is somewhat 
vague for those who do not feel it. It need not, 
however, be left in the vague. It is clear enough 
what it is. To thirst for God is to thirst for all that 
makes His character — and then for personal union 
with Him whose Will creates that character. 

(i) It is to thirst for righteousness, for freedom 
from sin ; and with a hundredfold more desire than 
we have ever thirsted for wrong-doing. It is to 
desire righteousness above all things else, so that 
we can no more pass wilfully into wrong than we 
can wilfully strike the woman that we love. It is 
to be restless, and feel ourselves as exiles, as long 
as we do or cherish what we believe to be sin. It 
is to gather every power of our nature up, and set 



them one and all to make our outward life clean and 

our inward thought pure. It is to cry to God, 

** Prove me and examine my heart and see if there 

is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way 

everlasting." It is to obey the eternal law which 

grows not old, though our obedience subject our 

fortune to ruin, our fame to misrepute, and our body 

to suffering and death. It is to put into the desiring 

and doing of these things more intensity than we 

have ever put into the winning of an earthly love, 

nay, to sacrifice that love itself, if it lead us outside 

of righteousness. This is part of the thirst for 

God, and blessed are ye who have it or have begun 

to have it. Ye shall be filled with it. " Blessed 

arc they," said Christ, " who hunger and thirst after 

righteousness, for they shall be filled." This is to 

thirst for God in the private life of the soul. 

(2) Then, again, to thirst for God is to thirst for 

justice, and justice is righteousness in dealing with 

our fellow men ; external righteousness. It is never 

satisfied, if in anything we do we injure directly or 

indirectly the life or welfare of another ; and the 

tremendous demand thai makes on all our business 

life, on all our lives as citizens, on all the ways by ' 

which we pursue after wealth or pleasure or beauty 

or knowledge, is only understood when we begin to 

thirst for justice. It seems to lay its hand on every- 



thing we do; it challenges us to think always 
whether our actions or their aims will benefit or 
wrong mankind. Nor is that all. The thirst for 
justice means that we should be sensitive to all 
oppression or injustice, feel our very heart srcitten 
when we see it or hear of it, and shape our feeling 
into living work against it, and that, not only at 
home but abroad, not only in our nation, but, so far 
as we can, in every nation under the sun. At least, 
it can be known — though we may be able to do 
but little — that we stand against all the foul oppres- 
sions, all the injuries, which men do to men. This 
is to thirst for God in the public life of the world of 
men, as citizens of our nation, as brothers in the 
vaster nation of mankind. 

(3) Then, again, to thirst for God is to thirst for 
truth. We live in the midst of a horde of lies, false 
seemings which the world encourages in order that it 
may not be troubled ; false standards of honesty in 
business, political arrangements and glozes, which 
allow a man to play false with his conscience and 
his pledges ; social appearances which are put on to 
cover our extravagance, our greed of accumulating, 
our reckless pleasure, our secret gambling, our secret 
impurity; religious seemings, apparent pieties in 
public, when our hearts are elsewhere ; talk of the 
lips about creeds and sacraments and doctrines, the 



principles of which we violate in the week ; pretence 
that we believe this or that, so that we may keep 
our place in our society or our profession, when we 
do not believe a word of what we say ; an atmosphere 
of falsehood which we breathe from day to day, and 
too little try to escape from — and this is to thirst for 
the devil and not for God. O clear your soul ; thirst 
for the truth. Desire it in the inward parts; and 
make your outward life, in business, in society, in 
vestry, board, council and Parliament, in your trade 
and your labour, in your home, in your religion or 
your irreligion, absolutely clear and honest, lucid as 
the waters of God's nature for which you desire, at 
which you hope to quench your thirst. This is to 
thirst for God. 

These are parts of the thirst for God which belong 
to all men without exception. But there are other 
portions of that thirst which, in their fulness, belong 
to classes of men especially, though all, in less fulness, 
ought to share in them. Two of these I mention as 
I pass. 

(4) There is knowledge, and the thirst for it is falsely 

removed from the thirst for God. To desire knowledge 

is a vital part of our thirst for God. All the work 

of the intellect belongs to Him. He is its source, 

and if He is the truth of things. He is its end. The 

more then we thirst for it, the more we thirst for God. 



We thirst, when we thirst for God, for a complete 
Being ; for one who is not only righteousness and 
love, but also pure intelligence. To know by eager 
work those ideas of God on which the universe is 
based, and the discovery of which is science, that 
also is to thirst for God ; and when religion inter- 
feres with or limits that thirst, it is, so far, not 
religion. To separate it from God or sacrifice it 
to an apparent spirituality is deviating from God 
Himself. For, it is God whom we see and know 
when we gain a scientific truth, when we grasp 
one of the ideas on which the constitution of nature 
is built. Every discovery of science which is 
proved true is a discovery of God. It hallows all 
knowledge to believe that. It adds to its infinity ; 
and the spread of knowledge is one of the duties a 
Christian man owes to God and man. 

(5) So also the thirst for beauty is the thirst for 
God, and this in its fulness belongs chiefly to the 
artists of mankind, and in less fulness to those 
who can see and feel beauty, but not embody it. To 
desire, with unbroken faithfulness, to see more and 
more of loveliness, and to double our rejoicing in it, 
whether in nature, art, or human character; never to 
link our love of it with the ill desire of wealth or of 
the world's applause ; never to turn aside from the 

spiritual vision which the soul imagines of perfect 



loveliness to any lower aim ; to strive to shape the 
beauty we conceive into some form which shall exalt 
or comfort men by the emotion of the perfect and 
illimitable which it awakens ; to strive after not only 
the possible but that which seems impossible, not 
only the real but the ideal loveliness — that far-off 
image of perfection and harmony that flits before us, 
but which prophesies the time and the country where 
it shall be approached ever more nearly with increas- 
ing joy — to thirst for that, apd to follow it, as the 
hart panteth after the water brooks — that, too, is to 
thirst for God. 

But what of those who cannot shape the beautiful, 
cannot thirst for it as the poet, the painter or the 
musician ? Why — a vast range of the beautiful is 
left for them ; even for the most ignorant, the most 
untrained. It is to see all that is spiritually beautiful 
in man and humanity ; to feel the divine fairness in 
human tenderness, pity and self-sacrifice; to love 
Love wherever we meet it, and to know that it is 
lovely ; to rejoice in man's doing of Duty, and to 
understand the divine beauty in her eyes ; to see her 
moral charm, her ordered loveliness in Nature : the 
flowers that spring beneath her feet, and the fragrance 
of the places where she dwells ; to see the immortal 
heavens fresh aiid strong, and the stars preserved 
from wrong by her self-enchanted fulfilment of law — 



that is to thirst for God as beauty ; and it is in the 
power of the least wise, and of the poorest labourer 
upon this earth. 

(6) There yet remains that in which all the rest are 
contained — there yet remains love, love which moves 
the universe, and whose motion is God Himself. 
To thirst to be at one with love, that is to thirst for 
the living God. Love in us is self-forgetfulness. 
To be able, when we live with Nature, to forget in 
her majesty and beauty our craving self, all inward 
thoughts of what we are and feel ; to find, listening 
to her great voices, intensity of Being in losing all 
consideration of Becoming; to know, in the still 
hours when we enter into her heart, a rapture of 
admiration, reverence, joy and aspiration — that is 
partly to satisfy our thirst for God ; for the loveliness 
of Nature is the image of the creative Love. 

Then, to be able, when we live with our brother 
men, not to remember what we wish for ourselves, but 
only their wants, their joy and their sorrow ; to think, 
not of our own desires, but how to minister to the 
great causes and the great conceptions which help 
mankind; to be eager to give pity to men, and forgive- 
ness to their wrong ; to desire wilh thirst to bind up 
the broken heart of man, and to realise our desire in 
act — this is to thirst for God as Love. For this is 

self-forgetfulness, and in the abysmal depths of His 



Being as well as in every surface-form into which 
He throws Himself out of Himself, God is the abso- 
lute Self-forgetfulness. 

If we could but get into that essential energy of 
love, we should thirst no more. We should then 
become creative, and have in creativeness perfect 
joy. God, in absolute self-forgetfulness, is the 
absolute Creator. All creation is an act of self- 
forgetfulness, an act of love. And every act of love 
is an act of rapture I Yes, to thirst for love is to 
thirst for the quintessence of God ; and the satisfac- 
tion of the thirst for love lies in the winning, through 
love, of that power of creating which makes the 
incessant joy of everlasting life. 

(7) This seems enough, but it is not. To thirst for 

God is more than all that I have said. There is 

that in us which cries out for a personal relation to 

Him ; which desires to be hand in hand and heart 

to heart. We have been so accustomed to personal 

life on earth; so trained, through our nature, to 

distinctive love, that we must long for it in our 

relation to God. He must be more to us than 

abstract truth or justice, than ideal beauty and 

perfect knowledge, or than the unoutlined love 

which fills the veins of the universe with life. We 

thirst for more than this. To cry " My Father ! " to 

hear Him answer, " My child " — not from the distant 



heavens, but in our secret heart — that is our most 
passionate desire. We hear it in the words the 
Psalmist adds to his first expression. " My soul 
is athirst for God," **for the living God." Yes, 
we thirst for a God who is alive to us: who is 
conscious of His own being, and of ours; who 
has a character, and desires that we shall be at 
one with it ; who has a will which mingles with our 
will, and leads it straight to Himself; who loves 
with a love the same in kind with our love when it 
is self-forgetful ; and who is pouring into our whole 
nature the stream of that love, with a personal touch 
in it, arranged and fitted to our distinct character, 
so that we say, " God is mine and I am His ; and 
never can I cease to be His care. He gives 
Himself to me with pleasure, and desires to receive 
my little love from me." This is our thirst for the 
living God. 

The prophets and singers of Israel had told us of 
this thirst for God as the infinite righteousness, truth, 
and justice. But this closer, keener, dearer thirst was 
the thirst of which Christ told us. That was His reve- 
lation. The child thirsts for the Father. This was the 
very essence of the life of Jesus Christ. " I and my 
Father," He said, "are one." It ought to be the 
full expression of our heart. The little Child who 

walked among the flowers of Nazareth, who stood 



SO often on the hill-top, and looked across the long 

corn-clad valley to the top of Carmel far away, saw 

His Father's work and heard His Father's voice in 

every cloud and stream and waving field, and in the 

stars of night ; so that, when He was a man, He made 

all the doings of the plants and birds and waters, 

of the sheep and the vine-dressers, parables of which 

the doings of God with man were the interpretation. 

The Boy who lived with the peasants of Nazareth 

and went with the great caravans to the feast at 

Jerusalem, and talked with the doctors in the Temple, 

living as closely with mankind as He lived with 

nature, saw in the soul of every man and woman His 

Father, moving, loving, inspiring, reproving, and 

guiding, and strove to make them know the mighty 

truth He knew — that God was in them, their dearest 

friend and father. "Wist ye not" (the tradition 

declares He said, when His mother chided Him for 

leaving them to speak to men) "that I must be 

about my Father's business ? " And His whole life 

was spent in bringing men, children, and women 

into personal knowledge of the unutterable love 

which never left them nor forsook them. 

But as deep and clear was His own vision of His 

Father in His own heart. The thirst for personal 

and eternal love as His own, just and true and tender 

to Him, with whom He spoke and walked and 



lived, that thirst was satisfied in Jesus. As light 
fills the heavens, so God's personal love filled the 
heart of Jesus ; and no sorrow, suffering, no earthly 
ruin availed to make it less or dim its brightness. 
When all forsook Him He took refuge within : " I 
am not alone, my Father is with me." In His 
bitterest agony in the garden. He went straight to 
God, His Father, and laid all His pain at His feet in 
infinite trust: "O my Father!" Would to God 
we had the fulness of that faith 1 But at least we 
may have some of it. We are parched with thirst 
without it. We must have it. We are so alone in 
the greater part of our life, so much of it is passed 
in the silences, so much for ever must remain 
unknown ; there is so much within of which we 
ourselves are ignorant, and which we dimly fear ; 
that we want, deep in our silent spirit, a com- 
panion who knows all, and loves us better than 
He knows. We want God's love for life ; for all its 
trouble, sin, trial, loneliness. We want it in the hour 
when we depart to another life. To leave the little 
that we know, but which is so comforting because 
we know it ; to look into the soundless vast, realising 
that loneliness of the universe which, by clinging to 
the material, we have kept at bay on earth — this is, 
however great our faith, an hour of awe, and in it 

we know how much we need a Father who never 



forsakes His children. "Where shall I be when I 
am dead ? " " In my arms," is the Father's answer. 
•' Whom shall I be with ? " " With me," He re- 
plies, " with all I am, and all that I support." To 
thirst for that deep relation is to thirst for God. 
It is the deepest, the most natural thirst of man, and 
whoso drinketh of that water shall never thirst again. 
From the depths of the central light where Love 
sits throned, and thrills from thence through all the 
universe of matter and of spirit, these mighty waters 
of God's being flow — justice and righteousness, truth 
and pity, knowledge and beauty, love and fatherhood 
— to satisfy the thirst of man. The sage drinks them 
and the little child, and both are satisfied, for both 
can love. Healing and life, joy and perfection are 
in their gay and glorious waves. Their streams 
make glad every little city of God which in each 
separate soul is built within us for eternity. They 
make glad the greater city, that vast and varied 
civitas Deif which is now building, stone by stone, 
life by life, in the human race ; and in it, when it is 
finished, they will flow for evermore. 




Hallowed be thy name. 

St. Matthew vi. 9 

AMONG the Jews, as among all nations in early 
times, the name given to a man in his man- 
hood was a record of his character ; and the word 
" name " was equivalent to character. When Jesus 
said, " Hallowed be Thy name," every Jew knew 
what He meant. He meant us to pray — " Our Father 
which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy character on 
earth as it is heaven," and, like every other petition 
in this prayer, the phrase has its universal appli- 
cations. Its force extends over all the spiritual 
creatures of the universe, from the dwellers on this 
tiny star we call the earth to the inhabitants of 
the infinite of space. There is no thinking and 
loving being in the uncountable worlds evolved from 
the Thought of God, who ought not to pray with a 
full heart : " Hallowed, Father, be Thy character by 

me, and by all Thy children." Illimitable is the 

225 p 


outstretch of the prayer ; and when we pray it, we 
are in the illimitable. 

" Hallowed be Thy character ; " let it be held un- 
violated in our lives ; let its attributes, its qualities 
be lived in, worshipped, and enjoyed by us, with 
something of the same delight, awe, love and kindled 
aspiration, with which, in some hour of trans- 
cendent feeling, we stand on a lofty mountain-side 
when the dawn breaks from the East. The wide 
plain lies outspread below, with woods and streams, 
and scattered towns : far beyond, the ocean-fulness 
girdles the world; above, the infinite skies speak 
of immeasurable power. Increase the passion which 
then you feel, double and redouble it, till thought 
and feeling fail to bear you further ; and then you 
will have some conception of the mighty mingling of 
awe and love with which you ought to pray this vast 
petition — " Hallowed, my God, be Thy character." 

But men ask, " What do we know, and how do 

we know anything of His character ? " Many answers 

are given to that question by priesthoods in Churches 

and sects, in heathen and Christian nations; and the 

answers assume a specialised revelation, super- 

naturally given to a few selected persons, and by 

them handed on to the laity. That is not our 

view in this place. We believe that all the ideas 

mankind has gained of the character of God both in 



the past and present have been gained from our 
fellow men, in whom the Father has been thinking 
and acting, and therefore revealing Himself, from the 
beginning. The lives and acts of His dear children 
have made His life and action known. The thoughts 
and words of those who have earned the love and 
honour of the human race have made plain to us 
how God thinks and how He speaks to us. The 
whole of this vast experience of the workings in men 
of those qualities of character which we have come 
to name love, justice, truth, holiness, pity, and joy, 
has enabled us to build up the character of God ; or, 
to put more justly our belief — God Himself, moving 
incessantly in man, has, through the whole course 
of history, in every nation, in every character, in all 
the work of law, literature, science, of the conscience, 
intellect and spirit of man — built up in humanity that 
idea of His character which it is the fact that man- 
kind, possesses. Moreover He is still building it up. 
The idea of His character opens before us century 
by century. Every expansion of the work of man 
in knowledge, in love, in spiritual aspiration, in 
social and political morality, adds to our conception 
of His character. This is the great, the continuous 
revelation. Year by year tells us more of what our 
Father is. This belief makes the ineffable charm 

of life, our incessant interest in it ; this is the fount 



of manhood's inspiration, the undying pleasure which 
deepens as old age comes on ; this is our certainty 
behind the doubts of life and the seeming failures 
of our work. The vast evolution of God's character 
in Man never for one moment relaxes the march of 
its revelation. 

When we proclaim that faith, there are those who 
answer — " Then we know nothing really about the 
God of whom you speak. He may not exist at all ; 
He may be only the creation of our own minds. 
If we have built up His character from within our- 
selves, we have no undeniable proof that there is 
such a character beyond ourselves." Indeed, that is 
true. We have no demonstrable evidence of the 
existence of our Father. Every one knows that it is 
an incessant subject of debate ; and the debate will 
probably continue '* until we close with all we love, 
and all we flow from, soul in soul." 

But then, it must be remembered that the negative 

can be just as little proved as the positive. No one 

can presume to say that it has been demonstrated 

that our idea of God and His character has only 

been built up by ourselves, and that there is no 

reality beyond ourselves which embodies the idea. 

That atheistic statement is also subject to incessant 

debate, and must, by the very nature of the matter, 

continue to be so. The intellectual proof then of 



the one or the other cannot be given in this world. 

We have to say, if the reasoning faculty is alone 

appealed to, that we cannot know. 

It is then that on this matter faith steps in ; that 

power within us — of whose existence we have clear 

evidence, whose work in realms other than those 

that are only spiritual is a matter of daily experience 

— faith, the child of imagination and of love. It leaps 

beyond the necessity of demonstration ; it lives, as 

its parents, imagination and love, have always done, 

in a world where the reasoning faculty cannot breathe ; 

and in its power we cry, " I need no demonstration, 

I feel my Father moving in me; I have loved, I 

have aspired, I have felt that I am loved ; I believe 

in God. I know in the depths of the soul that 

what the highest judgment of the human race, 

labouring through the experience of centuries, has 

made God to be — He is ; and what more He is, the 

world and I shall know hereafter. The idea of 

Him I have at present is enough for the time in 

which I live, and for my life. It is not of man 

alone. It has grown to its present form, not only 

out of the thought and desires of man, but also 

out of God's thought and God's love, working in and 

with the thought and love of man from the beginning 

even until now. He is ; and He is my Father. All 

that is in me which is of any worth has come from 



Him and is going to Him. Then as I feel this per- 
sonal union with Him, my personal view, strange to 
say, changes into a universal view. What I believe 
for myself, I believe also for mankind. God's Light 
and Life, streaming into me, irradiate Humanity for 
me. He is ; and He is not only my Father, but our 

When that belief is gained, we pass onward to a 
higher belief. Expansion is the foremost character- 
istic of all the spiritual and imaginative powers ; and 
Faith possesses it. Our actual belief in God is lifted 
into belief in its ideal. Driven by an inward power, 
and soaring by an inward impulse which we believe 
to be the very power of God in us, we pass beyond 
the limited conception we have of God, and see a 
larger, a more glorious vision of Him. All we have 
as yet conceived of Him puts on illimitability and 
eternity and absolute perfection. We know what 
human truth, justice, pity, love and righteousness 
contain and are. We know what beauty means to 
us, and what is knowledge. And knowing these, the 
spiritual power within us expands them. We 
behold them eternal, omnipotent and perfect. We 
see them inhering in a Will which is the energy of 
the universe ; but which is also a Force in us — the 
Force which makes this vision. And as these quali- 
ties make up noble character on earth when directed 



by a will which is self-limited by them — we pass on 
to feel, that, infinitely expanded, they make up the 
character of our God and Father. This is our 
loftiest reach ; and now, out of our heart thrilling 
with this vast conception, out of Love and Faith, 
soaring like twin eagles in the unspeakable Light, 
we pray — Hallowed be Thy character, our Father 
and our God. 

This is our faith, and a noble faith it is. But 
faith carries with it the duties which naturally flow 
from the thing believed in ; and the question now 
arises : " In what way shall we hallow the character 
of God ; how shall we be true to our prayer ? " 

(i) The first and the most proper way to hallow 
a character is, to be that character as nearly as 
we can. What we believe God is, that we should 
become. A life of prayer to Him is to make our 
thought and act in harmony with His character, is 
to be able to say with a clear conscience : " Hallowed 
be Thy name." 

We have conceived, for example, what perfect 

justice is, what it is in God. We are bound to 

hallow that part of His character by living as closely 

to it as the ivy to the oak. And I choose justice as 

my illustration, for there is no attribute of God of 

which we take less notice. And the reason we 

ignore it so much is that there is nothing which 



interferes more seriously with our selfish wealth, 
with our worldly position, business and amusement, 
than any attempt to be equal to the highest standard 
of justice. The justice of God calls on us to get 
rid of all prejudice in our domestic, social and 
political life ; to equally get rid of the conventional 
maxims of society as standards of morality; to 
see things that are called good or evil, just as we 
suppose God sees them, without one grain of pre- 
possession, and to form our judgment then, and 
not till then; to make allowance, in judging, for 
circumstances, for natural and hereditary tenden- 
cies in the wrong-doer; to get down, beyond 
apparent motives, to the bottom rock of the deed ; 
to put ourselves into the place of the person on 
whom we are called to do justice. That is part of 
the doing of justice, of hallowing God's character. 

It is, in party strife, to give full credit to an 
opponent, to say to one's self: "I hold him mis- 
taken, but he may mean as well as I." It is, in 
home life, not to let hot temper, jealousy, human love, 
selfish claims, weakness or sloth, lead us to favour 
or disfavour unduly any of the household. It is, in 
business life, to take no undue advantage; not to 
build our prosperity on the misfortune of another ; 
not to use things or money, not justly our own, for 

any purpose whatever ; not to keep those at work 



for US at unjust wages, unjust not according to supply 
and demandi but according to the demand of God's 
justice which you hear in your soul. It is, on 
the workman's part, to give honest work, just to 
that which he knows to be the best that he can do. 
And it is, above all, in this world where so much 
injustice rules, to maintain by voice and act the 
absolute idea of justice in all human relations, even 
though it should be to our loss of wealth, position 
and repute. 

To have the temper of justice in all things — that 
is to hallow the character of God, to keep it holy. 
But God is more than justice ; and what I have here 
said of justice is to be said also of all the attributes 
of God ; of love and pity and truth and order and 
righteousness, which along with justice make up 
His character. The proper way to hallow them is 
to be their image ; to live them out in daily life. 

It is a tremendous indictment of that daily life to 
recognise that this is true ; it is a tremendous call 
upon us to ask us to fulfil it. It leaves no moment of 
the day, no shred of our work, no motive of the 
heart, no strong desire, no act or speech at home or 
abroad, without its impulse, or without its check. 
But the loveliness and the glory of the thing to 
be attained ought to enable us to face the indictment, 
and to walk worthy of the call. For if we are true 



to the ideal of life contained in " Hallowed be Thy 
name/* we finally become that which we hallow. 
We are changed into oneness with God ; His cha- 
racter our character, His life and rapture ours. 

(2) So much for the meaning of the prayer in daily 
life. There are two other large aspects of the matter. 
The first of these is the hallowing of God's character 
as felt in the natural world ; the second is the 
hallowing of His character as felt in humanity. 

Our life with Nature is all the dearer to us in 
these great and gloomy cities for the brief glimpses 
we have of its charm ; but if we would add to it 
something more than the thrill of the senses, some- 
thing more even than the imaginative movement of 
the soul under the pressure of Beauty ; if we would 
add to it that which is beyond ourselves, which lifts 
us out of the material into that spiritual substance 
which underlies and makes the outward forms of 
things — we ought to see below her garment the 
living spirit who weaves and unweaves her garment ; 
we ought to see God's character moving through the 
play and joy of Order and Beauty in the myriad- 
minded universe, and hallow it in thought. " Put 
off thy shoes from thy feet, for the place where 
thou standest is holy ground " — that should be the 
attitude of the soul by the sounding sea, or on the 
solemn hills, or in the rejoicing wood as it listens to 



its Streams. As we look and muse, the senses re- 
ceive the charm of the lovely and solemn ^ things ; 
the imagination combines their images, and adds to 
them human love and memories ; the soul rejoices 
in the play. Beauty strikes her harp, and the brain 
kindles and dances to the tune; but if you would 
lift the natural vision into its eternal reality ; would 
you see and hear what mortal eye and ear cannot 
distinguish — the rushing of the immortal life through 
all that breathes, the love whose smile kindles the 
universe — send forth your spirit from yourself to 
mix with deity. Feel the musical soul of divine 
thought and love which is moving everywhere; pass 
with hallowed awe and joy into the character of God 
revealed in, and making, the outward world. 

So will our morning walk in the garden full of 
dew, and our rest at noon beside the clear water 
of the wood, and the evening vision of the sunset 
glory, and the hour when listening to the silence of 
the night we watch the stars enter like guests into 
the hall of heaven, be blest with infinite peace, full 
of the loveliness and joyous with the power of His 
character, whose dwelling is as deep in Nature as in 
the heart of man. 

It is not a lifeless and loveless Nature which then 
is our companion, whose eyes strike cold and grey 
on imagination, but Nature thrilling with life and 



love. We feel with a new and added joy her life 
and love answering to the life and love in us, and 
with almost a personal touch in their reply. And 
the personal touch in her is not only the reflection 
of our own personality ; it comes out of the will of 
God in Nature. We feel in her not only life and 
love, but a Being and a character. " Imaged here 
before me," so we think, " imaged in material forms, 
and in the laws which rule their evolution, are truth 
and righteousness, order and beauty and harmony, 
joy and love, mighty power evolving good, vast 
purpose moving to a divine and lovely close. 
What I feel, as I see and hear, Gk)d has first felt ; 
what I love here. He has first loved ; what kindles 
my imagination here and my intellect, God first 
kindled in Himself, and God thought beforehand. 
Therefore I am filled brimful with love and awe and 
joy. I hallow Him in His universe ; with a full 
heart I pray as I lay me down to rest and carry into 
my dreams the beauty I have loved." " Hallowed 
be Thy name." 

Again, as in Nature, so in Humanity, we are to 
hallow God's character. All the goodness, love, 
imagination, and intelligence we know in the race 
of man had and has its source in the character of 
God our Father. Hallow Him then in the truth 
which men of science have taught us, and hallow 



God in them. Hallow Him in the beauty which the 
artists of the world have created for us, and hallow 
the divine Spirit in them. Hallow Him in the noble 
work of law and government and progress which 
men have wrought for man, and hallow God in the 
men. Then history, art, science, and law, will not 
be less, but more noble, when we trace them to the 
everlasting source in whom the work and the men 
are everlasting. 

Hallow His character in those who have blessed 
and redeemed mankind by love and holiness ; in the 
great prophets who have proclaimed the spiritual 
truths by which we overcome the world ; above all, 
in our Master, Jesus Christ; in the saints who 
have inspired us with holiness ; in the martyrs who 
have made truth and faith the dearer by their death ; 
in the thousand thousand unknown men, women, 
and children whose gentle love has been a garden 
of flowers where the trouble of man has found rest 
and consolation. Hallow the name of God, hallow 
His character, in all noble and good humanity. 

That is not difficult. But to hallow God's 
character in men and women who are not good, 
in sinful humanity — ^that is not so easy. Yet, if 
we would be true to this prayer of Christ, this too 
is part of our duty. The evil are also the children 
of God. They have not hallowed His character, but 



abandoned its worship. Nevertheless they cannot 
get rid of it. That divine thing lies hid, ineradic- 
ably, beneath their evil doing and evil thought. 
The truth, justice, love, piety, and goodness of 
God are in abeyance in the wrong-doer, but they 
are not dead in him. They cannot die; nothing 
can destroy them. And we, whose desire it should 
be to save men, can, if we have faith in the in- 
destructible God in men, pierce to this immortal 
good in the evil, appeal to it, and call it forth to 
light, like Lazarus, from the tomb. This we can 
do, if, like Jesus, we love men enough ; if our faith 
that the evil are still God's children be deep and 
firm enough. In this we can keep closest to Christ, 
for it was His daily way of life; and divinely 
beautiful it was. He hallowed God's character in 
the criminal and the harlot. He saw the good 
beneath the evil. At His touch it leaped into life, 
and its life destroyed the death in the sinner's soul. 
It seems as if He said when He looked into the face 
of the wrong-doer, " Father, hallowed be Thy 
character." No lesson for life can be wiser or 
deeper than this. It ought to rule all our doings 
with the weak and guilty. It is at the very centre 
of the prayer, " Hallowed be Thy name." 

There is one more aspect of the matter, and it 

knits the close of this sermon to the beginning ; that 



is, to the faith that the character of God has been 
built up in our minds by God Himself working 
through the deeds and thoughts of men. It is to 
hallow His character in all the doctrines which we 
hold about His doings with His children ; by accord- 
ing them with the highest conceptions we now 
possess of love, and truth, and justice, and righte- 
ousness; and by rejecting all the doctrines which 
violate those conceptions. This is a work which 
men and women, faithful to humanity and the Father 
in it, are bound to do. They are equally bound to 
proclaim as the foundations of their faith the doc- 
trines necessary for that lofty conception. If they 
do not fulfil these two duties of protest and asser- 
tion, they fall below the standard of their work; 
they lose the passion, joy and inspiration of a lucid 
faith ; they deny the claim this prayer makes upon 
them. Hallowed therefore be Thy character, our 
Father, in all our doctrines concerning Thee. 

Lastly, when we have performed this hallowing 
of God's character in our theological conceptions ; in 
humanity ; in nature ; in our own inward life and in 
our outward life ; when this worship, this prayer in 
all its action, has become the habit of the soul I 
then — and no result can be more sublime for 
thought, more beautiful to imagination — we see God 
and His character in the immeasurable history of the 



human race ; and rejoice with a universal joy. We 
hallow, with reverence, love and exultation, the 
evolution of the divine character in the past history 
of mankind, its unfolding in the present, its expan- 
sion in the future — until, borne on the swift wings 
of faith, we behold at last the complete Humanity, 
the perfect Man united for ever to Divinity ; and 
hear that innumerable host crying, from eternity to 
eternity, in awe and love and rapture — " Father, 
hallowed be Thy name." 




What is man thai thou art mindful of him, and the 

son of man that thou visitest him f 

Psalm viii. 14 

REVELATION," said Lessing, "is education 
coming to the human race." But from 
whom and how ? that is the question I Well, if 
there be a God who is the fountain of truth, Reve- 
lation must come from Him, for it is the unveiling 
of truth. Here, in this church dedicated to God, 
we believe in God, in whom all truth is born and 
lives; and when truth is unveiled we believe it to 
be the deed of God. Others hold another view — 
" that there is no divine source of truth, and that 
what truth is discovered is the work of man alone." 
We have no quarrel with our opponents. Let them 
hold their view, and let Time, the old Justice, try 
the case, as he will finally do. We hold our own 
faith — **that there is an infinite truth beyond us, 
which is communicated to man by Him in whom the 
truth abides." We assume His existence, and we 
believe in Him. Truth is revealed by Him. He 



watches over the human race, over its slow and sad 
development into union with Himself. Why it is 
so sad we cannot tell, but we believe that we shall 
know hereafter, and that the sadness shall be 
drowned in joy. We dimly see that its sorrow and 
struggle are the sources of a higher good and a 
nobler race than could become without them. At 
least we see that the struggle and the pain belong 
to the course of nature and human nature; that 
we must make the best of them, and trust our 
Father's will to be good and loving. It is plain God 
does not make us good by force, nor give us all 
truth at once. He has laid on man the task of 
winning goodness in battle against evil, and of win- 
ning truth out of error and darkness ; and we seem 
to understand that this is worthy of God, and worthy 
of us. So, only, we think, can man, in freedom, 
win, like a freeman, noble character, self-forgetful- 
ness and knowledge. But, at certain times, in 
national or world history, when He sees that evolu- 
tion has reached a certain point. He sends — ^and it 
has so frequently occurred that it may be called a 
law- — a new soul into the world, charged with power ; 
not with superhuman power, but with human power 
raised to the utmost point it can reach at that period 
of human development. A genius, as we call it, 

is born. A new start is given to the world. An 



elect soul is sent forth to do a vast work ; and 
this is the truth hidden underneath the doctrine of 
election. And his work is a revelation, an unveiling 
of truth. 

This is, we say, the doing of God who directs the 
advance of mankind ; — and we see now how it is 
done. It is always done through men ; it seems to 
be part of the course of Nature. It is not miracu- 
lous ; it violates no law : it is contained in the law of 
progress. The coming of a genius is of constant 
occurrence ; and it occurs in every sphere of human 
endeavour towards truth — in government, in science, 
in poetry, in painting, in music, in general litera- 
ture, in philosophy, in morals, and in religion ; in 
the things of intellect, of the imagination, of the 
conscience and of the spirit. We believe that this 
is the work of God ; and we may fairly challenge 
the evolutionist who denies God to explain the 
occurrence of genius. The attempts already made 
have broken down.- No theory of heredity, no 
struggle for existence, no survival of the fittest, ex- 
plains the coming into humanity of Shakespeare, of 
Mozart and Raffaelle, of Stephenson, of La Place, of 
Buddha, Moses, or Mohammed. The work of these 
men is to gather into themselves all the scattered 
forms and shreds of truth which have been, before 
their time, attained in the spheres in which each of 



them works ; to generalise them, and to send forth 
the main truth in which they all inhere, and which 
together they make up. They thus embody all the 
past. Secondly, when they unveil that master 
truth, they awake and kindle all the activity of the 
present, and start the world upon a new career. 
And, thirdly, they invariably open out and pro- 
phesy the future. Their work unfolds the possi- 
bilities of the coming age, and contains them. They 
are the revealers, and what they say and do is 

Thus did Giotto for the art of painting in Florence. 
He started the world of art afresh. Thus did 
Chaucer in England and Dante in Italy for the 
art of poetry. Thus did Beethoven for music. 
Thus did Newton for the science of the universe ; 
thus did Darwin for another realm of science ; thus 
did Wordsworth when poetry needed a new creation ; 
thus did Turner for the representation of nature. 
Thus have done a thousand men in the history of 
the development of mankind. 

These men who have absorbed the past, re-created 

the present and prophesied the future, have differed 

from ordinary men, as a whole differs from its parts. 

They are unaccountable by science. Many of them 

have sprung out of the poor and uneducated strata 

of society. Their powers are amazingly beyond the 



common capacities of men. They are not super- 
natural, but they almost seem so. They are in 
reality an extraordinary heightening of the natural ; 
and this is more or less proved by the intensity of 
the humanity which belongs to them. To be more 
human than other folk is their essential difference. 
That is the way God makes them ; and the truths 
they reveal are equally divine and human. 

Well, what is true in these spheres which men 
in their folly call profane, is true in the sphere of 
religion. The man of genius in religion, in those 
things which belong to the Spirit in man, is called a 
prophet. And ever since the race began to move 
towards the Spirit of God, God has sent men full of 
spiritual truth, as the world could bear it, as it was 
needed — first, to reveal His nature, and secondly, 
to disclose the true inward life of human nature. 
They come, they gather all the spiritual ideas of the 
past, and re-clothe them; they take up all the float- 
ing, unorganised spiritual ideas of the present, and 
put them into forms which can be used and loved ; 
and they put forth new ideas with regard to God 
and man in which the spiritual work of the future is 
contained. They are revealers, and their work is 
revelation. There have been hundreds of such 
men in all nations. And there will be thousands 

more, for Truth in God is infinite. When the time 



arrives, there may come one who will teach us 
further developments of the truth that Jesus taught 
in Galilee. But that time is not yet, for we have 
not yet assimilated, nor half fulfilled, the truths 
that Jesus taught. Till we have done that, we can- 
not produce that state of things in which a further 
development of them is possible. Yet there is, even 
to our eyes, some progress making now. What that 
teaching was concerning God as a Father — what it 
was concerning the truth of life being found in self- 
forgetful love — these are points of it which are 
becoming clearer in these days. In the last thirty 
years the progress in the knowledge of them and 
in their practice has been extraordinar}'. But what 
Christ revealed concerning man — that is still dark, 
still almost unconceived ; and it is of first-rate im- 
portance. God loves man as a Father. Man can 
love God. If all are children, all are brothers, and 
brothers love one another. These things of Christ are 
clear. But what necessarily lies beyond these is 
not yet clear. " That if man can love God and his 
fellow men — man must be, by nature, not evil but 
good. The root of his nature is good. That is the 
revelation of Christ concerning us — and the world 
has not yet comprehended it, and has never worked 
it out. Man, down to the very worst and meanest, is 

worthy of the love of God. To declare that doctrine 



to be true is the worst of heresies in the eyes of the 
believer and the unbeliever. Yet it is simply another 
form of saying that God is a father and that men are 
His children, one and all. But with this truth as it is 
in Christ — that man is by nature gcod and not evil, 
of God and not of the devil — no peace is kept by the 
creeds and the confessions, by the philosophers, and 
by the pessimists. On this matter the Calvinist, and 
the Materialist, the Agnostic, and the orthodox, 
the indifferent man of the world, the philosophic 
moralist, the fanatic, and the cool politician, are 
in unexpected and exquisite harmony. They all 
deny the doctrine of Jesus. To say that all men, even 
the worst, are worth loving and worth saving is 
either detestable heresy, or wicked folly, or in the 
teeth of facts. And they move heaven and earth to 
prove that Christ did not say it, or if He did, that 
He knew nothing about the facts of human life. 
There is almost no instance of any form of theo- 
logical belief in which the doctrine that man is 
naturally unworthy of the love of God has not been 
one of the foundation stones of their scheme of 
thought. Many philosophic and scientific statements 
with regard to the human race exclude into the 
darkness of failure, ruin and death even more men 
and women than the theologians send to the hell they 
have created. Everywhere one view prevails. But 



I am bold to say that human society is sick and 
weary of the doctrine that man is unworthy of the 
love of God ; and is longing for another doctrine. 
By-and-by men and women will find out, to their 
vast astonishment, not only that Christ held the con- 
trary; but that till we hold what He held, there 
is no chance of any permanent social, moral, and 
spiritual progress. The doctrine of the natural evil 
of man, whether in its theological or scientific form, 
is the curse of the human race ; the origin, in the 
ultimate reason, of almost every oppression and 
wickedness against which, so long as we hold that 
evil is of the very nature of man, we contend so 

Things have got so terribly wrong in societies, 
that it might be well to go back to Jesus ; well to 
understand what He meant by saying that men 
belonged to God as children to a Father, that is, 
by nature ; and to work the history of the world 
upon the basis of that thought. It would be a new 
exj>eriment ; it would take along time even to begin 
it ; but it has never been done, it has never even 
been touched. The Christian Churches, as bodies 
of organised thought and practice, have always 
opposed it ; the philosophers have always mocked it. 
It has been to the Jews a stumbling-block, to the 

Greeks foolishness. It is indeed difficult to believe it, 



or to work it at present. The basis of it in the minds 
of men is naturally beyond the understanding. It is 
built on faith in two things incapable of what we 
call proof — belief in absolute Love with a relation to 
us which we call personal ; and belief in progressive 
immortality — and faith of this kind is very difficult 
in a world which, as now, is in a state nearly 
resembling slavery to the reasoning faculty, and 
worse still, boiling over with pride in its slavery. 

It would be especially difficult to work it out in a 
society like ours of Europe, where the social results 
of the other doctrine are so complete ; so deeply 
rooted in its class system, in its Churches, in its re- 
ligious intolerance ; in its conduct to the poor, the 
outcast and the criminal ; in its tendency to be care- 
less of the individual. Yet the difficulty should only 
make us more eager to proclaim, though all the 
world should combine to crucify it, the doctrine of 
Jesus — That every human being, in virtue of his 
humanity which is as directly from God as a child is 
from his father, is destined to reach perfection with 
his Father ; that every human being is summoned, 
by a call which he will find irresistible at last, to 
immortal union with the Deity ; and is certain to 
live finally in the doing and thinking of divine 
righteousness and love, and therefore in absolute 

blessedness. This was the good news, the Gospel, 



which Jesus held in His heart, and gave to the 
world ; but few could recognise its fulness. Men 
felt it, and lived it, but they did not think it. 
But we, taught by history, ought to begin to think 
it now, as well as to feel it. No one had said 
this about man till Christ said it. Many men, in 
scattered utterances, had called God a Father, and 
Jesus confirmed and extended that revelation of 
God's character. But what was unique in His teach- 
as a religious teacher was His revelation to man of 
what man was. Man was not the child of evil 
matter, or of the spirit of evil, but the child of the 
divine essence, and of the Spirit of all good. His 
nature was not destined to fall lower and lower, but 
to rise higher and higher. Man would have to go 
through evil, but in the battle would attain clear 
personality, and clear consciousness of God and of 
himself In that indelible kinship with God, all were 
one, and equal, and brethren. No evil on man's 
part should make us lose the belief in that truth. 

This was His revelation concerning man, and in it 
Jesus stands alone among the prophets. It was not 
only the original, it was the central thought, of all His 
teaching. Everything He said and did radiated from 
it and converged to it. The rule of His own conduct, 
the faith by which He lived and for which He died, 

the inspiration of His joy and His sorrow was this — 



that, as a man, He was by nature and by right one 
with God ; and that however far He might wander 
away, He was, of necessity, to become at one with 
the character of the Father. When He said, " I and 
the Father are one," He said it not of Himself 

And the practical meaning this truth should have 
for us is this — that because we are already by right 
and nature children of God, we are bound to become 
so in very deed and fact ; to be what God is — loving, 
just, pure, merciful, true ; and to be conformed in life 
to His image. And this is the natural evolution of 
our human nature, and its attainment our deepest 
glory and happiness. 

Whatever is opposed to that — evil and its whole 
brood— is not the normal development of the root 
of our nature, but a falsification and degradation 
of it; is unnatural, not natural. All life lived for 
this world alone, for what is material, transient, 
perishable ; for wealth and rank and fame in and for 
themselves alone — is unnatural for those who belong 
by nature to the spiritual, the eternal, the imperish- 
able ; whose wealth is the treasures of love, whose 
rank is pre-eminence in goodness, whose fame is in 
self-forgetfulness I 

Such is the true work of this thought on the indi- 
vidual life. But it passes on beyond the individual. 



The natural worth of man, because of his capacity 
to be at one with love and righteousness and to grow 
up into them ; his natural kinship with God as a 
child to a father ; the conception of all men as brothers 
which follows upon that truth, and the duties which 
therefore bind us to each other ; the spiritual and 
eternal community of all men in the Fatherhood of 
God — these are the foundation of all noble and en- 
during democracy ; the only foundation on which the 
great political thoughts of liberty, equality, and fra- 
ternity can build themselves into an enduring temple 
for the human race ; the only foundation on which 
the permanent conceptions of the general movement 
which we call Socialism will be able to stand, when, 
in the concentrated war to come, the rains descend, 
and the floods come, and the winds blow, and beat 
upon its house. 

On every other foundation — on that of self-interest, 
of man's natural evil, of scientific utilitarianism, of 
mere ethics, of mere individualism, of the worship 
of humanity apart from the Fatherhood of God — 
democracies, liberties, equalities, fraternities, social- 
isms, will fall, as they have fallen again and again, 
into the foul ruin of some tyranny or some imperial- 
ism ; or into some terrible philosophic government 
which will encourage individualism till it end in 

anarchy, or encourage collectivism till it end in the 



blotting out of that individuality which is so potent 
an element in human progress. 

From these false extremes we are saved by Christ's 
twofold conception of the life of man. On one side, 
we are asked for the fullest social sacrifice, the 
sacrifice of self for the sake of the whole of humanity ; 
on the other side, our individuality is saved by 
bringing our inner life into a direct, personal and 
lonely relation to God our Father. 

We see both these in His life ; He gave up His life 
for His fellow men to the last drop of giving, but He 
never lost His individuality. He retained that by 
bringing His whole inner life into a close and personal 
union with God. And He left this twofold life, at 
once collective and individual, to us as a legacy. 
We were, in our relation to our fellow men, to give 
up all our selfish thoughts and ways, and live and 
die for one another. That secures collectivism. We 
were, towards God, in the personal solitudes of the 
soul, to live as a separate spirit, as a child with its 
father, in a distinct life of thought and love. That 
secured individualism ; yet without selfishness, for 
union with God was necessarily union with absolute 

Hence we return to the same idea with which we 
began. Every man is a separate soul, destined to his 
own perfection, destined to fulfil one phase, one part 



of a vast and united whole ; and born to represent, 
in the great humanity to be, one element of the 
manifold being of God ; and for this he is always 
being educated, through many lives, up to his personal 
immortality. As such, he is more worth, in himself, 
than the whole material universe. 

In this work of God, done with the slowness of 
a king who respects the free development of his 
people, we are called upon to join in proportion to 
our growth. We do that work of help and educa- 
tion along with God our Father. And, of course, 
it is not only the best for whom we are to care, 
not only the intelligent and the healthy whom we 
are to select, but those who are least good, least 
wise, and most diseased ; not only the most cul- 
tured classes and the most civilised nations on 
whom we are to spend our pains, but the most 
degraded, the most savage, and the lowest in the 
scale. These are children of God as well as we, and 
the same purpose of God is with them. We are 
here to help that purpose, to believe in it and to 
work for it. This is the true ground of all redeem- 
ing work among the most savage tribes of the earth ; 
among the criminals, the self-degraded, the weak anc} 
miserable victims of life in our fine civilisation ; — 
and this is the faith in which we do a work which 

needs a vivid inspiration ; for we know, only too 



well, how often its seeming failures tend to hope- 

But when we have faith in God the Father of men, 
and in the progressive immortality of men which 
naturally follows from that faith, there ought to be 
no such thing as hopelessness. Indeed, no shred 
of work ddhe in this belief, and for love of God, can 
ever be lost. It is a seed certain of its harvest. 
The Christian servant goes to his work among the 
criminals in all classes of society, among those lost 
in idleness and selfishness, among the outcasts and 
the ruined, with thoughts which are mighty for 
redemption, *'The souls," he says, "to whom I 
speak, are children of the highest, though they seem 
children of the lowest. The divine is in them, 
though it seem lost. I will find it and touch it into 
life. Jesus loved the lost and miserable, the harlot 
and the thief; and believed in their underlying 
goodness ; and so will I. It is not the will of our 
Father that any of these little ones should perish. 
Nay, it is His will that they glorify Him for ever in 
love and holiness. This is the work God has called 
me to do with Him, hand in hand and heart in heart. 
And I go forth in His might, conquering and to 
conquer." No tongue can tell the good that men 
who thus believe are doing on the savage, sensual, 
selfish, idle, violent, and victimised classes of society. 

257 R 


But there are also thousands who have nothing to 
do with crime, who are not lost in moral ruin ; but 
who are poor, oppressed, and oftentimes despised — 
men and women who live in daily trouble, in a 
desperate battle for existence ; others, not so ill off, 
who yet have no leisure, few opportunities for im- 
provement, who never get into a larger world of 
thought, of beauty, or of knowledge. These are the 
poor of the land, and because they have just the 
means to live, and are too proud to make complaint, 
very little care is given to them. When Christ 
came into His work He found Himself among a 
multitude of them, and threw Himself with all His 
ardour on their side. The first blessing He pro- 
nounced was pronounced on them. " Blessed are the 
poor, for theirs is the kingdom of God." The climax of 
His account of His work was this — **The poor have 
the gospel preached to them." The test of the 
judgments to be given at the close of life was made 
to turn on whether men had visited, healed, com- 
forted, fed, and clothed the poor ; and those who had 
done these things had done them to Himself. " Inas- 
much as ye have done it to the least of these my 
brethren, ye have done it unto me." It is good to 
hear that ringing in our ears. In obedience to its 
voice lies at present half our work. Let us do it 

steadfastly, in the spirit of Christ, in faith in God's 



inevitable Fatherhood ; and, as the years move on, 
the days at last will come, as they ought to come, 
when the poor shall cease always to be with us. 
But even then the duties of this faith shall not be 
exhausted. The work which this eternal principle 
of humanity and human life carries with it will find 
fresh developments in fresh societies. 

Prove by your work that you believe that all men 
are the children of God our Father. Prove that you 
believe all men are knit to you as brothers ; that all 
are akin to your life. Prove that you believe that 
at the root of the heart of all men is goodness and 
not evil, beauty not ugliness, love not selfishness ; 
and that these divine seeds can be quickened into 
life, and brought to full fruitage in union with God. 
Act on that belief in the teeth of all the evil and 
wrong of the world. Prove that you believe in the 
infinite worth to God of every man, however lost, 
however wicked ; and in the worth of every man to 
the whole of humanity. That faith of Jesus is 
the faith that conquers souls for God and man. 
And finally, should any of you not be as yet able to 
see the world of men in the Father — see them as 
Christ saw them ; see them as your brothers ; be- 
lieve in their future ; hope and work for the coming 
of a nobler, simpler, justcr, more pitiful, and lovelier 







For what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole 
world and lose his own soul ? Or what shall a man give 
in exchange for his soul ? 

St. Mark viii. 36, 37 

WHAT a passionate note there is in this cry ! 
A world of thought and feehng fills its 
voice. It came out of the depths of the heart of 
Jesus. He, at least, believed in the soul; and at 
present it is not a common belief. Men believe 
firmly in money, and they show their faith by their 
works, night and day spending and being spent in 
its service. Men believe in social repute. It seems 
a glorious thing that they should be pointed out 
with the finger — and their life, often their honour, is 
swallowed up in the labour their faith demands. 
Men believe in Science, not indeed so far as to help 
it with money. That would be to infringe the larger 
and deeper faith in Cash, the true God ; but they 
confess her as a mistress and worship her, when 

she invents machinery which empowers them to fill 



their own pockets expeditiously, and to empty the 
pockets of others with equal expedition. But when 
Science does not help them to anything but thoughts 
and knowledge, they only believe in it then as a 
means which enables them, they think, to pooh-pooh 
the soul " We are all matter," they say, " or mere 
machines, the necessary results of the past. Science 
says so. Why worry then about honour and mercy, 
and justice and honesty ? Let us fill up the full 
measure of our pockets by any means we can. All 
the rest is mere sentiment." Thus do they use the 
noble creature Science ; and the worst of her is that 
she does not complain. 

They also believe in morality, that is, in what the 
law declares to be criminal and not criminal, and in 
what society declares is moral or immoral. To obey 
the law, and the maxims and social arrangements 
of society, is to be moral ; to disobey them is to be 
immoral ; and their faith in this obedience being the 
whole duty of man is so astonishing that they 
actually call themselves moral persons at the very 
time when they are deliberately violating both jus- 
tice and mercy in support of the opinions of their 
world. Those opinions justify them in any action 
which does not bring them into the Courts of Law ; 
or which is supported or ignored by the sentence 

of their society. But, as to belief in eternal prin- 



ciples which have nothing to do with earthly laws 
or social opinion ; which exist above these things ; 
and which in their own lives ought to rule over 
their acts and thoughts, independent of legal or 
social judgments — as to such a belief as that, it 
does not enter into their faiths at all. It has 
** nothing to do with practical life." 

What those who have, in Christ's thought, gained 
a soul, call ''practical life,'' is a life which helps 
mankind into greater happiness ; and it is only lived 
by the power of self-forgetfulness. What they call 
practical life is to care and labour for nothing which 
does not increase their income, or build up their 
personal power. It is only lived by the power of 
incessant self-remembrance, and it lessens the happi- 
ness of mankind. With the latter kind of practical 
life faith in the soul is at war. It would be curious 
if the soul had anything to do with it, and the fact 
is, they who follow that life naturally deny the soul. 
** The soul ! " they say, " what is that ? I don't 
know what it means. There's no proof of it : it does 
not interest me ; and it bears no interest. I cannot 
make ten per cent, out of it." No, indeed, you 
cannot ; you are more likely to lose ten per cent, 
by believing in it. Moreover, you must have 
experienced something of what it is '' to have a 

soul " before you can believe in its worth, or know 



what it means, or what Jesus meant when He 
spoke of it. 

He did not mean a personal, selfish thing inside 
of you which was in danger of hell-fire or punish- 
ment, and which had first to be saved from them, 
and then put into a comfortable position in heaven. 
But He did mean all those qualities and their har- 
mony which make up in a man, in a society or in 
a nation, a character like the character of God, our 
Father. He meant that inward state, which, being 
in a man, is a state of salvation ; a state in which 
he cannot think evil, mean and selfish things, in 
which he cannot do these things, in which he 
would rather die than do them. He meant that 
within a man there were wrought together into a per- 
sonal entity directly bound up with God, purity and 
righteousness, meekness and temperance, humility 
and graciousness ; the power to make peace, and 
to bestow forgiveness; the powers of tenderness 
and pity and mercy, and a passionate love, practice 
and worship of these. He meant the inward 
possession of a character like His own in relation 
to man — of justice and truth done to humanity, 
of faith and hope in God and Man ; and He meant 
a life ruled by these, and obeying nothing else till 
these were first obeyed. He meant the kingship 

of Love over all these qualities, so that the whole 


whatp in exchange for the soul 

man lived by his love of God and by his love of man, 
and produced in all his thoughts great-mindedness, 
and in all his works great-doing, so that his thoughts, 
words, feelings and acts were clothed with beauty as 
with a robe of the starry sky. For Beauty accom- 
panies these qualities of the soul. Where they are, 
she abides; where they are not, there she is not. 
Indeed she is a part of the soul. And it is quite in 
harmony with this, that the mass of persons who do 
not believe in the soul, do not care a straw for 
beauty. She herself, the spiritual thing, vanishes 
when the base material touches her ; abhors to be 
bought or sold for money; refuses to be a rarity 
which can be paraded for show or used as a means of 
repute ; and dwells with the other immaterial powers 
of the soul in her simple forms, clothed in the white 
and gold of the quiet daisies, and with the eternal 
reproof of ostentation and riches in her eyes. 

To have a soul, then, is not a profitable thing, as 
the world counts profit. It is even less than profit- 
able. Its elements are against the profit the world 
desires. There is nothing so damaging to the 
getting or keeping of selfish wealth as righteousness 
and justice and mercy. Sacrifice of self is the 
undying foe of covetous accumulation. Humility, 
truth, honesty, boldness of speech in defence of 

the oppressed, a clean front against idleness, hold- 


THE CospeL of JO'i 

ing to principles of love which society repudiates, 
will not allow you to use many of the means the 
world around you uses in order to succeed. Yes, 
these qualities of the soul, faithfully brought into 
act, will often mean worldly failure ; and if you keep 
them, you will have to be ready for that which men 
call loss. Again and again in life, you have to make 
that choice, sometimes in small matters, sometimes 
in large. And it is time you gather yourself together, 
and choose whether you will serve the world or the 

The sands of life are running out. The power of 
choice diminishes as the sands diminish. You are 
becoming set, as your bones have set. What profit 
are you going to have, the profit of the world or of 
the soul ; the profit for yourself, or that which is for 
God and man? How long halt ye between two 
opinions ? If the Lord be God, follow Him ; but if 
Baal, follow him. 

That was the question Jesus was asking all His 

life long. That is the question His own life placed 

with absolute clearness before the world I Where 

was the gain in His life? Did He win wealth? 

Did He win social repute ? Was He the favourite 

of the Church or the State in Jerusalem ? Did 

He even continue to be the favourite of the people ? 

The success which marked the first year of His 



ministry, did it mark the second or the third ? 

Did the " higher classes " ever take Him up, or if they 

did for a short period, did they not drop Him as if 

He burned their hands ? What was the reason of 

it ? The reason was that He clung to the soul. He 

held fast to love and justice and mercy and simplicity ; 

to the kingdom of heaven within, not to the kingdom 

of heaven in the shape of a kingdom on earth I Finally, 

all He gained from the world was its hatred and a 

felon's death. But He had the profit He meant to 

have : He gained the soul and its unity with God. 

" I and my Father are one," He said. He won and 

brought to perfection within Him the eternal and 

glorious powers of justice and righteousness, love 

and truth, honour and faithfulness, lowliness and 

hope, courage and endurance, tenderness and pity, 

imagination and beaut}', noble sorrow, inward joy, 

the strength of prayer, the peace of His Father in 

His heart ; the power of love over the heart of man ; 

power to lead them to love one another as He loved 

them, power to guide them into the perfection of 

God. This was the full life of the soul, and this 

was His gain. 

Have you done something of that work ? Have 

you gained your soul, or do you lose it day by day ? 

Are you with Jesus, or with those who crucified Him ? 

I do not ask you, like so many, " Have you saved 



your soul ; are you safe ? " I do ask you, " Have 

you got a soul at all, in the sense of which He spoke?" 

Have you got within you the powers and qualities of 

the divine life, the powers of Christ ? Are they so 

living and full within you that they rule over your 

whole life, direct and check your action, order and 

temper your thoughts so that nothing is felt towards 

God which they do not encourage ; nothing done in 

your business, in your society, which may not be 

brought before the tribunal of these judges, and 

approved of by their sentence ? Then, you are 

saved, to use that much-abused term. If you have a 

soul at all, salvation is yours, salvation from the 

dreadful state which believes that the gain of the 

world is the true object of the life of man. Then, 

too, you will understand the pitiful cry of Jesus, 

What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole 

world and lose his own soul ? What, indeed, shall 

it profit him ? When the fierce trials of life descend 

on us, rain and wind and sweeping flood ; desperate 

duty; overwhelming sorrow; corrupting treachery; 

loss of love; loss of all we cherished; when long 

disease isolates us ; when death, chilling the air 

with its incomparable solitude, stands beside our bed, 

— what do our riches and our repute, our pleasure and 

our madness profit us ? Where are they for helpers 

and strengtheners in our hour of bitter need ? They 



have fled to the world of pleasure or gain we do not 
care for now. In those dread solitudes there is no 
support but God living in the soul, quickening its 
powers, filling them with the love of Jesus, making 
them happy with the love of man. Alas I if you 
have lost these powers ; if, never fed by their own 
food, they have starved to death ; if there be no 
soul at all within you ; nothing but the gain of the 
world, and the temper living for self alone has made 
in you — what profit have you ? On what founda- 
tion do you stand when the wide world crumbles 
beneath your feet, and your life is searched through 
and through by your awakened eyes ? 

Then, if you wjsh to test the matter further, ask 
not only '* What profit you have from losing what 
Jesus meant by the soul," but also " What profit this 
life of yours has brought to man ? " That is a crite- 
rion all will understand. When you have gained the 
whole world for yourself, what have men gained from 
you ? It is almost a truism, so multitudinous is the 
evidence, that in proportion as you gain for your- 
self, you make others lose ; just as, in proportion as 
you lose yourself, you benefit others. There are 
different degrees of this, but the truth is, that in pro- 
portion as a man, gaining the world, loses his soul — 
that is, loses righteousness, love, faith in man, mercy, 

justice, tenderness, imagination and beauty — in that 



proportion he loses the power of doing good to man- 
kind, and may do miserable harm, even though he 
may have so much of a phantom soul as to hate the 
very notion of injuring mankind. He may wish to 
do good to men, wish vaguely and helplessly to 
comfort or strengthen human life — but till he find the 
powers of the soul he cannot do this ; and unless he 
make a giant effort, such as God's spirit enables us 
to do, his selfishness deepens. What little soul he 
had is lost, and the judgment at the end is just : 
" Take the unprofitable servant into the outer dark- 
ness." Only there, only in realising the misery of 
the isolation in which he abides who has lost all that 
makes the soul, will he long to gain a soul, and in 
weeping, and out of his despair, at last attain it. 

So far for our personal life, but the law has yet 
another hold upon us. Classes of men, societies 
and nations have souls, or ought to have them ; that 
is, they ought to have in them righteousness, justice, 
love, mercy, truth, all the qualities of the soul; 
and everything they do and think in their congre- 
gated lives ought to be ruled by these — ^ruled, that is, 
by the soul. What shall it profit a class if it gain 
the whole world and lose its soul ? 

There is the class in this country who are 

determined to keep their wealth and their privileges 

intact. I take here no political side for or against 



them. I only say that if in the process they lose 
their soul, if they lose honesty, justice, love, pity, 
and the rest, then though they gain all their effort, 
they ruin themselves and damage the nation. 

There is the great class at the root of public 
life who are " struggling for their rights," they say, 
who want to get their own way — the working men, 
the labourers, the poor. They have defined their 
wants. It is not my business at present to approve 
or blame them, but it is to say to them that if in 
the struggle they do not keep close to the soul, 
cherish and obey justice and love, forgiveness and 
honesty, and the rest, they will destroy their cause 
and injure mankind, even when they most seem to 
win that cause. 

There are the parties who in politics are strug- 
gling for power. The opinion has often prevailed 
that to gain the power is everything, and that the 
means do not matter. That opinion is false, and has 
been one of the worst curses of mankind. Parties 
that gain the whole world they want, and in the con- 
test have not obeyed righteousness ; who have injured 
love, neglected mercy, violated justice, played false 
with truth, betrayed at any point the great causes 
and ideas of an honest state ; who have tempted 
the weak to wrong, or enslaved themselves to the 

powerful, for the sake of winning ; who have not 

273 s 


principles which they will not violate to win all the 
success in the worid — have lost their soul, have 
won no true advantage, and are already over- 
thrown by their success. They have damaged what 
was good in their cause, and they have wronged 

There is the steady effort which the capitalists in 
England are now making for mastery ; there is the 
effort which labour is making against the capitalists. 
It is not my business here to approve or to blame 
either section, but it is my business to say that if 
either side, during the strife, or after the victory, 
lose their soul — if they lose the sense of justice 
between man and man; if they forget that men, 
being God's children, are brothers one of another, 
knit together by love ; if in victory, they are greedy 
of self-interest or cruel ; if they do \\Tong to 
freedom, if they are not magnanimous, if they 
become incapable of forgiveness — there will be po 
true advantage to themselves in their success, and 
they will do harm to mankind. The true winning, the 
real victory remains in all these cases to those who 
keep their soul, who would rather fail in the out- 
ward effort than violate righteousness, justice, pity, 
freedom and honour. No success is worth a straw 
in which the soul is lost. What will it profit any 

class if it gain the whole world for itself, and lose 



all that makes humanity worth having, all that 
makes the true life of any society ? 

Lastly, there are other matters which have to do 
not with a party or a class, but with the spirit of a 
whole nation ; and I think that which all nations 
want most to have written over their gates, and 
graven on their hearts, now, is this : " What advan- 
tageth it a nation if it gain the whole world and lose 
its soul ? What shall a nation give in exchange for 
its soul ? " Yes, what shall it give ? I am happy, 
so far as I think of my country, when I see so many 
within her who are steadily living for those divine 
powers which make the soul a living being; who 
are struggling quietly against those powers by 
which the soul is lost ; who love justice more than 
wealth, and simplicity more than splendour, and 
honesty more than a full purse, and love of man 
more than love of their family, and pity more than 
legality, and aspiration that fails more than prudent 
choice which succeeds I In these is the life-blood 
of our people These are they who will live for the 
old traditions of the land, in support of which she 
gains her soul. In these she still realises the mag- 
nanimity, the sacrifice, the readiness to give up all 
for an idea, which have made her greatness; in 
these still lives the imaginative pursuit of the un- 
known, of what seems impossible; in these still 



dwell and work the deep conviction of duty, the 
grave obedience to the country's call for the sake of 
public right ; the contempt of mere wealth and 
fame, the sacrifice of them for great causes; the 
preference for a quiet and simple life ; the hatred of 
mere luxury and its curses in a nation; and the 
deep passion, at any loss, to support religious and 
civil liberty all over the world. This it is which 
makes her influence over the minds of men, which 
establishes her dominion. Without it, her power, 
huge as it seems, is smitten with mortal disease. 
Other nations (prosperous as she is now) have 
fallen into dreadful ruin — Egypt, Assyria, Persia, 
Rome the Empire, Venice. Why did they fall? 
In every case it was that they had lost their soul ! 
Oh, it is time for us, as citizens, to remember the 
words of Christ Jesus, to live, not only for our own 
sake, the life of the soul, but to live it also for the 
sake of our country ; to keep not only our own soul 
in harmony with God's character, but also the soul 
of our nation ; to ask ourselves daily not only 
" What advantageth it me if I gain the whole world 
and lose my soul ? " but also " What advantageth it 
my well-loved England if it gain the whole world to 
its dominion, and lose its soul ? What shall England 
give in exchange for her soul ? " 




/ must work the works of Him that sent me. 

St. John ix. 4 

THIS was the view which Jesus took of human 
life. Life was labour; ploughing, sowing, 
reaping, harvesting. The world was our farm, and 
we came into it, not to lie under the trees in the 
sun, or beside the brook in the shade, but to till it 
and keep it and make it fruitful for our fellow-men. 
And this was an imperative duty. " I must work," 
He said ; and the imperative came from God without 
Him, and from God within Him. He looked on the 
universe without, and though He knew nothing of 
physical science, yet He saw the whole world in 
reproductive movement : incessant birth, incessant 
death that new life should be born ; unfailing 
provision for the continuance and support of life ; 
unfailing production of things which inspired 
desire to find out their secret, and so made know- 
ledge ; and love of their beauty, and so made art. 
This is God, He thought, God in hourly labour. 
" My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." 



From God within Him also this imperative of 
labour came. He heard in His heart, as we hear it, 
a cry which drove Him like a goad; and He knew, 
as we know, what it meant. " Give yourself away," 
it cried, " shape what is in you into bread and wine 
for man." He heard it in the urging outwards of 
His heart when He was young as yet, and learning 
how to live. He understood that the un-content 
He felt was, in reality, the weariness of the human 
soul until its powers, used in work, were in harmony 
with the laws of the universe. He learned, before 
He went to meet the Baptist, that life must be pro- 
duction for others, and therefore, self-renunciation. 

Was He not right ? When is our restlessness 
worst, when is our wandering desire most disturbing, 
when is our conscience most wakeful, barking like a 
watch-dog? It is when we are drifting through 
life as if it were a dream, or doing strenuously 
that which bears no fruit I That great Imperative 
haunts us as incessantly as the wind pursues the 
clouds, until we become a part of it, part of the 
Wind of Duty. Nor is there any freedom from 
it ; and if we take a fancied freedom, we are soon 
weary of it. That is our punishment for breaking 
this law — weariness of life. Our desires become 
a burden — " Me," said Wordsworth, " this un- 
chartered freedom tires ; I feel the weight of chance 



desires/* Even our amusements become sad in idle- 
ness ; beauty and joy fade out of life. We cease 
at last to admire, to hope and love — and even, while 
we desperately seek variety, variety departs. 

But there is another side to this. A greater part 
of the men and women of these islands work hard 
enough. I do not speak of men whose work is 
imposed on them by the need of food and shelter, 
but of men fairly well off who cannot rest from 
labour, who spend a lifetime in building a fortune. 
These work themselves into slavery, into stupidity, 
and finally into inability to work. They reach then, 
through over-labour, the selfsame condition which 
the idler reaches. They too are weary. Beauty, joy, 
pleasure, variety, the power of living and admiring 
have left them ; and when enforced leisure comes 
through idleness or through misfortune, they have no 
interests beyond their work, nothing to do or think 
about, nothing to care for. And they are bored 
beyond conception. Then, if not before, their con- 
science turns restlessly within them, like a sick man 
on his couch ! What is the matter ? 

They have also broken the law of the universe 
by working for themselves alone. At that point they 
are as bad as the idler whom they despise. ' The 
idler's sin is doing nothing for man or woman, be- 
cause he wishes to please himself. The sin of the 



selfish worker is just the same — doing nothing for 
love, nothing for others. And sometimes the Idler, 
if his temper be gentle, kind and affectionate, does 
less harm to men than the Worker who accumulates 
only for his family. 

To both, the further words of Jesus come home 
with force. Not only did He say " I must work," 
but " I must work the works of Him that sent me " — 
the works of God His Father, whose work was giving, 
not getting ; distributing, not accumulating. Giving 
away — that was the foundation of God's work, and of 
ours. Moreover, God's work has its own character 
with which our work must be accordant. I must 
work the works of the eternal truth, justice, pity, 
long-suffering, love and righteousness. That was 
Christ's conception of Life. He felt that His work 
was to reveal the character of God ; to make manifest 
to men what divine love and justice were, what 
mercy, truth and righteousness were in the Highest. 
This was the universal work of men, women and 
children. This was the highest form of the Impera- 
tive of duty. 

Is that our conception ? Some of us never con- 
ceive that idea at all. "I must work my own works" 
is their thought from birth to death ; and very well 
they do it. They pile up goods ; they settle their 

family ; organise business on business ; get and do 



not give ; and then are surprised, when, in old age, 
life is loveless and therefore dull, and when decay 
brings death near, homeless and unbeautiful. Their 
work is not the work of God, nor is it the work 
man expects and justly claims from them. It is only 
their own ; and now that their hand and brain are 
weak, it is their own no more. For there has been 
no divine element in it, such as might comfort them 
in death, because there has been no love in it, no 
harvest for man. No ideal, no hope, no joy illu- 
mines it, such as they would now be glad to take 
with them into the supreme life. These spiritual 
things have been to them shadows, impalpable 
fancies, sentimental follies. Tis pitiful. For these 
divine powers were the realities of life, the eternal 
things amid the transient. O how strangely shall 
they who lived thus, be at sea in the world to come 
where love and self-forgetfulness are all-in-all ! 

** O," they say, " I do not believe in all this love, or 
in a God who asks for it, or in any claim of humanity 
on me, or in a world to come." 

No, really? How convenient! How comfort- 
able I To do what you like, and not to reap its 
fruits ! To be left quite free to feather your own 
nest by robbing the nests of others ! To live among 
men and never to do anything for them ; to ignore 

all your duties to humanity, and then to escape the 



pjenaltyl It is a little too clever. But it is not 
true. There is such a thing as retribution. You 
shall reap what you have sown. You shall be forced 
by God to learn what love is ; you shall be driven 
out of your selfishness into self-forgetfulness, till at 
last you cry : " God, be merciful to me a sinner." 

There are others who do think of this conception 
of work which Christ laid down. But they think of 
it only to laugh at it. "I cannot work the works 
of God," they say, " because I have other matters to 
attend to which the world of man requires of me. 
It is not my business, but the parson's, to reveal 
God's character in daily life. If I did this, I should 
be unfit for my work as politician, lawyer, merchant, 
doctor, tradesman or mechanic. The labour of the 
world would not then be done." 

That would be a true objection if Christ had asked 

that every man should become a missionary ; if the 

works of His Father were only those called spiritual. 

But Christ knew the world as well as we know it. 

He knew quite well that the work of government, of 

knowledge, of commerce, of literature, of manual 

labour had to be done ; and the only persons He ever 

asked to leave them aside were those who wished to 

set themselves apart for the special work of apostles 

and ministers of the Gospel. To them He said : 

** Leave all, and be fishers of men," but to the mass 



of men He said : " Go back to your home and your 

daily life, but do your work in love, in harmony with 

the character of God." Done in that fashion, in a 

spirit of Christ's love, truth, honesty, purity, pity and 

justice ; it is the work of God, of Him that sent us 

into the world of men to do His work. We owe 

this foolish objection to the division orthodox folk 

in the past have made between what they called 

" sacred work and profane work," and the last thing 

that Christ would have conceived would have been 

such a division - 

All the honest, unselfish work of the world is 

God*s work. God's business on this earth is the 

free development of Human Nature ; therefore every 

work which strengthens and ennobles the body, the 

soul, the intellect and the spirit of man, is His work. 

All, therefore, which makes a great character, or a 

great nation, is His work. God's business in this 

little world is the slow evolution of Humanity through 

the effort of free men to perfection. Therefore all 

work which is concerned with that is His work — 

Science, Art, Literature, Law, Medicine, Invention, 

Labour on the Land, Manufacture, Engineering, 

Commerce, Trade or even War. Jesus was not so 

ignorant of the world of men as some have thought 

Him. His intelligence was far too clear to call upon 

all men to be ministers or to think that the only work 



to be done in the world was preaching and pastoral 

work. No, what He meant was that the work of the 

world was to be done by us, but in accordance with 

the character of God His Father, mastered by the 

rule of that character, impelled and restrained by its 

attributes, and incessantly pursuing its infinite 

perfection. Every human work, done in that spirit, 

is a revelation of God, is the work of God. 

Then, as the root of God's character was Love, all 

the work of the world, done in the spirit of love, in 

the spirit of the life of Jesus, was the work of God 

Himself. Love spiritualised all work, high and low, 

into the divine and beautiful. In it, the highest 

work would become higher. Take the work of a 

Prime Minister. He may do it with the greatest 

ability; but if at the bottom of it be self-interest, or 

if it think only of the material wealth of his land, 

only of the baser ends of a nation's life — however 

able it be, it is not God's work. But if he himself 

be void of self-interest ; if he care profoundly for the 

moral and spiritual life of his country ; if his policy be 

ruled towards unselfishness, towards the greater and 

nobler happiness of all his fellow-citizens ; if he 

think not only of his own country's greatness, but of 

the advance of goodness, truth, justice and liberty 

in every nation all over the world, and act for that — 

then his work is the work of God who sent him. 



In the same way the least regarded work is en- 
nobled into divine work, if the spirit of love be 
there. The stone-breaker by the roadside who 
thinks, as he toils, of his wife and children, with his 
heart full of tenderness ; who wonders how he can 
help his neighbour who is in trouble, even his enemy 
whom he pities ; whose hammer goes to a song in 
his heart of gentleness and loving-kindness — he is 
working the works of God ! God Himself is in every 
stroke of his tool. This thought makes the true 
poetry, and is the true religion, of labour. 

Above all, we know from the life of Jesus what 
was, according to Him, the special work of God. It 
was to love all men and to do them good ; to help 
them out of trouble ; to let the oppressed go free ; to 
bind up the broken-hearted ; to bring deliverance to 
the captives ; and to die gladly in this work and for 
its sake. This was the main work of God, and this 
the doing of it. To do this there is no need to be a 
minister of religion ! Have you done it, any part of 
it ? Whom have you delivered, helped ; whose lives 
have you looked after? It is surely possible to 
animate all your work with that principle, to live and 
to die for it. We must all know such men and 
women. I thank God they are not uncommon in our 
country — men who, in politics, in commerce, in pro- 
fessional work, in the business of the city, in the 



life of home, in society, in the court and lane, in 

shops and factories, in the management of great 

estates — keep their soul alive and their conscience 

clear, and rule their life by the love of men ; who 

recognise their duty to their fellow-citizens, make 

them better and happier, and do it with pleasure. Are 

they for that, which is to work the works of God 

that sent them, in the spirit of Jesus — are they less 

good men of business ? Are they incapable merchants? 

Are they less active in science, art, or literature ? 

Are they useless in a municipality, at the bar, in the 

hospital? No, they are the better men, for they 

bring loving-kindness, honesty, righteousness and 

pity into their work, and its influence for good is all 

the greater. That is the true life, and he who lives 

in that way works the works of God, and is a follower 

and friend of Jesus Christ. 

We are born, then, to work the works of God : 

that is the law. And by our obedience to that law 

we find happiness and finally joy. We are in harmony 

with the universe. By our disobedience to it we find 

sorrow and pain, and finally exhaustion of all our 

powers. Till we are changed, we are outside God, 

outside of man. We are banished from the universe, 

for all the universe is work for the sake and ends of 


And now, how far have we perfected this ? And 



have we been true to it ? We may have realised 
it partly in the life of manhood and womanhood, 
brought it up, and developed it, from youth to later 
life's afternoon. But then there is often a check. A 
weariness of work comes upon us. We persuade 
ourselves we have done enough ; we yield to a sloth 
which, at first repelled, grows upon us ; and then the 
temptation of later life is upon us, the gravest test 
we have to bear. It comes, step by step, like a lion 
on a sleeping traveller. The sin of yielding to sloth 
and selfishness lies like a beast, crouching for its 
spring, on the threshold of the soul. Day by day we 
are tempted to lay by the work which is not for our- 
selves, but which helps and advances man. We yield 
and yield, till at last the little things of that work 
become a burden. Day after day less and less is 
done. Then the big things are attacked. " What is 
the use," we say, "of our doing these matters ? Others 
will do them better. I am weary and want some rest. 
I may now amuse myself by doing nothing ; sleep 
and idle the remainder of my days, or at least take 
no trouble about other folk, only about myself and my 
own people." , 

What are we doing then ? First, we are weaken- 
ing our unselfish powers. That side of our intellect 
which thinks for others gets out of the habit of that 

thinking, and the less it is used the more difficult it 

289 T 


is to use it. And when we do use it, its products are 
not clear; they have lost sharpness, clearness of 
form, applicability to the point in question, capability 
of being used by others. A sad affair for us ! A 
sadder affair for our brother men, for whom we ought 
to keep our brains in thorough working order. 

Then again, our loving-kindness loses force. Our 
powers of feeling, only felt within, and not put into 
action without, become only the feeling of feelings. 
Pity, indignation, love, felt and not made into acts of 
pity or of self-sacrifice, lose their very heart in om* 
dainty dreaming, and are turned into their opposites. 
Our animation and activity of love, unexercised, 
becomes, like the unused muscle, attenuated ; and we 
are content to think with pleasure of the times when 
we were animated and active — a vile condition. But 
the worst wretchedness of these losses does not con- 
sist in the damage we do ourselves, but in the loss 
of power to benefit mankind, in the loss of power to 
do God's work for the salvation and the greater hap- 
piness of man. We are guilty to man, and guilty 
before God, when we lose our powers in inglorious 
ease. We owe ourselves to men and women ; no 
amount of work frees us from the duty of keeping 
ourselves in the best possible trim, body and soul, 
mind and spirit, that we may nobly work the loving 

work of Him that sent us. 



Secondly, we are defrauding mankind. There 

is a certain amount of work to be done in this 

world. If any of us does not take his full share, 

he imposes that which he does not take on the 

shoulders of another ; and the first cause of poverty, 

of disease, of misery in all States, is the overwork 

which is imposed on men and women by the idle and 

indifferent members of the nation. This is to steal 

from the human race ; to steal from them joy, leisure, 

health, comfort and peace, and to impose on them 

sorrow and overwork, disease and homelessness, bitter 

anger and fruitless tears. This is the curse which 

the selfish dreamer leaves behind him. Many have 

been the fierce oppressors and defraudersof the human 

race, but the evil they have done is less than that 

done by those who drop by drop and hour by hour 

drain the blood of mankind by doing no work for 

the overworked. This is the crime with which the 

idle and indifferent will be confronted when the 

great throne is set in our soul, and the books we 

have written on men's lives are opened, and God 

shall lay judgment to the line and righteousness to 

the plummet. " Lord, what hast Thou to do with 

it ? " we will say. " I did not neglect Thee ; I took 

my ease, it is true, but I kept Thy law. I was 

never impious, never an atheist. When was I not 

religious ? " Then He will answer : " Inasmuch as 



ye never worked for the least of these my brothers, 
you never worked for me 1 " 

This, then, is the temptation we have to ward 
ourselves against when the first light frosts of age 
begin to fall upon us. Then is the time of our 
greatest danger, then the hour, more even than in 
youth, when the great choice must be made between 
the two paths. If the young go wrong, it is a sorrow- 
ful thing, but at least they have time for change, 
time to weary of wrong-doing, and, since they are not 
set, to change is easier for them. But if in the midst 
of middle age we take the turn to sloth or selfishness, 
to worldliness or luxury, we are often fixed on that 
path for the rest of life ; or if we take it and do change, 
the change is terribly difficult It is like the rending 
of a great tree out of the soil it has pierced for a 
thousand years. The effort tears out our very life- 
strings. Therefore now, in the third watch of the 
night, now is the time for keen and careful watching 
against the temptation to take our ease in selfish 
living. Now is the hour for arraying into full activity 
all the soldiers in the fortress of the soul, lest the 
virtues should be overcome with luxury or wearied 
with well-doing. Put on now the whole armour of 
God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil 
day, and, having done all, to stand. Our wrestling 

will not be so very long, and it is pleasant to do it 



well, to tighten our grip upon our adversary till the 
power of work departs with age. 

At last, the time does come when we can do no more. 
Age arrives, and nature bids us be quiet Our fellow- 
men, seeing that we have done what we could, are 
glad to think that we are resting, and God, the Im- 
peller in our heart, drives us forth no more, but makes 
us at home with Him. All our work lies behind us, 
as we look back in the stillness; it seems like a 
dream, for we think now more of what is coming than 
what is gone. But it is not really a dream. Its results 
abide among men and multiply. The harvest of our 
work we have brought to ripe corn is now feeding 
men, women and children. It is a blessing that God 
gives us, to think at times of that, to hear the music 
of the gratitude of our fellows in our heart, to know 
that, when we die, we shall not be forgotten. 

Moreover, even in age, we can do the work that 
fits it. The love with which we have lived in the 
world, the spirit of tenderness and kindness and 
gentleness, which our Master Jesus made the master 
of His life — that being immortal, undecaying, lives 
in us and works in us as much in age as in youth. 
There are old men and women who irradiate the 
whole of Ufe around them, with whom to speak is a 
lesson in goodness. The spirit of Love pours its 
divine beauty into all they say and do. God Himself 


The dospEL OP jov 

is within them in His tender power. The life of 
Jesus lives in their souls. Thus, even in the shadow 
of approaching death, they do the work of Him that 
sent them. In that silent house of life, filled with 
this divine love, the old man loves mankind as he 
never loved them before. Love, the best of all the 
powers of man, grows into the keenest life and does 
its freshest work when decay and death are close 
at hand. This is a prophecy in the aged of the noble 
life to come. One touch and we are set free. We 
know when the Master comes ; we hear the step of 
Eternal Love ; and in joy and peace we say, " All is 
finished. What I could of the work Thou gavest me 
to do, I have done by Thy power, all-gracious Father. 
Into Thy hands I commend my spirit." 




Now we know in part, but then we shall know even as 

we are known. 

I Cor. xiii. 12 

THERE is a story somewhere of a royal race, to 
one of whose ancestors a wise magician 
promised that, at some time in the future when the 
kingdom had need of it, a sage should come, bringing 
with him a great diamond, so pure that all the world 
would flock to see it and lose their troubles in its 
light, so radiant in itself that, where it shone, it 
would reveal all things. 

Time went on, and the promise worked in the 
minds of men ; and all the more as the land got into 
trouble. And the royal folk, and the idle people 
who cared for splendour, and the priests who wanted 
power, and the poor who lived only for bread and 
games, began to picture, being dissatisfied with their 
life, of what sort the diamond would be, and of what 
appearance its bringer. " No doubt," they said, 

** he will be a glorious prince, with a regal court, 



and a glittering army in his train ! And as to the 
stone, let us image it in many ways " ; so they made 
huge crystals, a host of them, and hung them up in 
the temples, with blazing lamps, and cried, ** These 
are as nothing to the splendour, size, and fire of the 
diamond that is to come.'' 

At last, along the streets one day, a poor man, 
clad in clean white garments such as the common 
people wore, passed through the town, and, coming 
to the market-place, stood still, and declared that he 
was the carrier of the diamond. '* Here it is," he 
said, and drew from his bosom a stone, small in 
comparison with the great crystals ; but which, to a 
few who looked into it, scintillated with a light so 
soft and yet so clear, that joy seemed to pass out of 
it into the hearts of the lookers, and contentment 
into their lives, and knowledge of the hidden world 
into their soul. 

But the main part were furious with the poor 

man, and said his stone was a piece of rubbish ; and 

when he still maintained that he was the sage 

prophesied of old, and his stone the true diamond, 

they slew him in their anger, and flung the diamond 

into the streets, to be picked up and cherished by a 

few ; and so returned to worship in the great temples 

where the crystals hung, and to finally believe that 

the crystals, each of them, were the diamond. 



Then, while the diamond itself did its quiet work 
among those who loved it — how the others fought 
and squabbled, each for his own crystal, and against 
the others, no tongue can tell. They deafened the 
kingdom with their senseless noise. 

The story serves in part to illustrate what happened 
when Jesus brought to Jerusalem the true idea of 
the kingdom of God. He was no worldly prince ; His 
kingdom was not splendid ; the truth He taught was 
supported by no armies and no cunning. It was 
humble and spiritual; only those who loved could 
see it, for it was Love itself. 

The thing the Jews had long desired came to 
them — the dream of prophets, the hope of the human 
heart, the expectation of a thousand years — and 
when it came they were unable to see it ; nay, they 
hated it I That was very pitiful. 

But the matter is not only historical : it is a 

common story in daily human life. We start with 

some aspiration which, when we are young, is noble ; 

with some high conception of our true work and of 

its aim. We live by it ; we long for its fulfilment ; 

and then, when its true fulfilment comes, we, too, 

are unable to see it : nay, we hate that fulfilment, 

because it is not what we have painted it ; not what 

we, as we lived, have made it to be. That is also a 

most pitiful thing in life. 



Why did this happen to the Jews ? Why does it 

happen to us ? The answer lies in the story of the 

idea of the kingdom of heaven, when it came with 

Christ to the Jews. Worldliness, love of the things 

which change and pass and die, had crept into that 

idea, and creeps into our ideal aims. The spiritual 

is lured into fornication with the material. We mix 

up our youthful aspirations, as the nationalist Jews 

did the kingdom of God, with self-seeking, with a 

struggle for wealth, with the desire for popular 

fame and social position ; till our early ideas have 

changed their nature and lost their imaginative 

quality ; and when the pure idea comes — that which 

holds in it the perfect archetype of all we once 

conceived and loved in youth — and brings with it a 

trumpet-call to surrender of self, to leave the things 

which are dying for those that are living ; having in 

its train no splendour of the world, no money, and 

no social repute ; but rather temperance and quiet, 

and the Cross ; endurance of hardness, battle, and 

work in stillness ; all the trappings gone with which 

our self-desire clothed it — and says to us, " Here I 

am, the pearl of great price. Sell all thou hast and 

buy me," we are angry, despise, hate, and reject it I 

Driven by the Nemesis of our worldliness, we not 

only attack the true aim of our life, we also defend 

the false conclusion. Then, there is failure, and 



men, when we are dead, look back and say, ** He 
began well, but the end was wretched. He did no 
good to mankind. Even more, he did it evil. He 
opposed, he injured those who brought the true 
ideas. All he ought to have loved he persecuted. 
The image his youth aspired to he trampled on in 
age. Tis pitiful." 

Another way the world blinds us is by its wearing, 
grinding power. It passes over us like a heavy 
roller and smooths us down into its own convention- 
ality. This is the cruel danger of professional and 
business work ; of physicians, lawyers, working men, 
and merchants ; and a terrible danger for ministers 
of God to men. We lose care for ideas, for aspira- 
tions, for battling for the good and happiness of 
others. All things are done with decency and 
respectability, in the way the world expects. Nothing 
new is struck out, such as love and imagination 
would be sure to do. We have given up our youthful 
ideas as foolish dreams. They weary us when they 
come to visit us. "There is no good," we say, "no 
use in keeping up these things. I will do my 
ordinary duty and no more." And so — and infinite 
is the pity of it — life becomes apathetic, mere 
machine-work, not hand-work. And when the true 
idea of our life comes before us, begging for recogni- 
tion, we turn it from the door : " I am tired," we 



say, or, "you are not respectable," or, "you look 
like an old friend, but I am afraid to own you." So 
we lose our true life; and mankind, judging us 
afterwards, says, " He was once young and bright 
and impelling ; he became a machine, of no good to 
us." This is the most common form of the worldli- 
ness which is the first reason why we cannot see 
the true kingdom when it comes. 

The second reason is narrowness of view, made 
and supported by personal prejudice. There is a 
type of this also in the history of Christ. The youth 
of John the Baptist was illuminated by the idea of 
the kingdom of God. There was no worldliness, no 
self-seeking in his conception of it ; yet when it 
came, he also did not see it. In a few years all that 
glowing expectation was sunk in disappointment. 
He died even more piteously than Savonarola. 
Why was this ? The answer is in the narrowness 
of his idea of the kingdom. In his view, it began 
and ended in the circumference of the Jewish 
nation. It faded in his hands, because the time had 
come for a universal kingdom, and he could not com- 
prehend that extension of it. His prejudices were 
too strong for him. 

This is often the explanation of our failures. We 

limit our ideas, our aspirations, for moral, social, or 

political reform, to a class, a sect, a church or set of 



churches, to a political party, to our own society. 
We even limit our aims to our own estate or our 
own family. What, then, can God do with our 
ideas and aims but make them fail in the form in 
which we hold them ? Or we insist on their being 
carried out in the special shape which our prejudices 
have given them — in an individual or a class form — 
when humanity wants the idea without any special 
form being given to it. Then, if we persist, what 
can God do with our passionate hopes but disappoint 
them ? Were we to succeed, the world, tied down to 
an individual and prejudiced image of the universal 
idea, would suffer from a kind of slavery. All freedom 
of shaping the idea would be taken from it. Only 
those who shared our prejudices, which we call, so 
vainly, principles, could use our form of the idea, and 
the use would be misuse. That must not be : there- 
fore our whole work fails. God blocks it, and justly. 
Yet there is a certain success. I have supposed 
that these prejudiced persons have not been self- 
seeking, and have been righteous in their endeavour. 
They have been like John the Baptist. Then the 
character they have put into their work tells for 
good upon the world, even though their life and 
work have been a failure. And the pity the world 
feels for their failure increases often the influence of 
their character. 



Moreover, there is a personal blessedness which 
we must not overlook. These men, in the midst of 
earthly failure, hear, as the Baptist heard, God's 
voice in their hearts. Their righteousness brings 
them into union with the Father. They die, not 
having realised their aim, not having seen the true 
thing, unable indeed to see it, but they are not alone 
when they die. The Father, and His peace, are 
with ^them. Sad is their life, but they have some 
compensation. As in some great picture from 
which we turn away in sorrow because the artist 
has not been able to represent his thought fully, we 
yet see that the spirit of the effort he has made re- 
mains an influence among men, and know that the 
artist was not all unhappy ; so the spirit of the work 
of these men abides. As the artist had done what 
he could for beauty and beauty did not desert him 
in the end, so the comfort of the Father does not 
desert these men who have failed. " Well done, 
faithful servant," He whispers in their dying ear. 

Once more, the disciples also failed to realise 
their hopes. Up to the hour of Christ's death the 
true kingdom was with them, and they did not see it. 
But afterwards they did see it ; rejected all the world 
for its sake ; lost their self and all the life of self in 
it ; and spread it far beyond the Jewish world, uni- 
versally, over the Gentiles. So, then, there may be 



illusions lost, hopes disappointed, forms of ideas 
unfulfilled, failure of aspirations — and yet men re- 
cover, find nobler forms of thought, change all the 
forms of their views, gain faiths instead of hopes, 
and reality instead of illusions I The disciples, 
though they had clung to the inadequate, found out 
the adequate. Having lived in a false show, they 
left it for a city which had foundations. 

What saved them ? For it is that which will save 
us when all our old ideas, in the form we have given 
them, are broken up; when we feel that all our 
hopes are failure. Love saved them. It is only 
love which, in this dreadful crisis, will enable us to 
begin with earnestness a new life, and open our 
hearts to the morning of a new endeavour. It was 
love that saved them, love of Jesus ; in whose life 
they found, when prejudice was gone, the very foun- 
tain of passionate Being. This love carried them 
away from the old, and poured into them a new 

It is always some intense love for what is loving, 

for the Christ in human nature, which saves us when 

all our life seems to have failed, and all our hopes 

are gone. When, through every failure and sorrow, 

we keep the power of loving in good health, so 

that when we see in some person what is pure and 

true we can rejoice and give ourselves to it ; when 

305 u 


we can, borne by the natural expansion of love, go 
beyond a personal love, and rejoice and give our- 
selves to the love of a great and noble cause, not 
losing the personal love, but taking it with us into 
the more universal affection ; when, at any moment, 
we can thus give ourselves away in love, we can 
always forget the failure of the old, and enter into 
the life of the new endeavour, of the new conception. 
No failure, then, quenches energy, no sorrow conquers 
the possibility of joy, no destroyed illusion injures 
our power to find a new motive for life. And hence- 
forth, when love has its perfect way, we are certain 
not to fall into the error of the Pharisees or of John 
— the error of selfish materialism, or the error of 
limiting prejudice, or the error of mechanical life. 
These things cannot breathe in the spiritual and 
universal air of love. Yes, this is what we all want, 
and especially the ministers of the Gospel — ^love of 
the ideas and causes which God has made to grow 
in the heart of man, which, appearing in the history 
of humanity, are the living wheels, full of eyes 
within, by whose movement the chariot of the pro- 
gress of man advances. It is not mere intellectual 
assent to these we need, but emotional love of them, 
so that we cannot live without them. Not less of 
intellect we want, but more of passion. And, for 

my part, I think we want these ideas — ^such as the 



Fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of man, self- 
sacrifice the true life, the immortality of the personal 
spirit in God's Fatherhood, the freedom of the soul, 
and many others — to be embodied in a man, in his 
life and death ; one of us, whom we may honour and 
love as our leader. We need Jesus Christ, as St. 
Paul needed Him. In Him the ideas, the causes are 
held in a person worthy of them ; and in fighting 
under His banner we fight for them ; we fight for 
God the Father's character in the human race. If 
you cannot, as yet, give Jesus Christ that love, you 
can love the ideas He loved. At any rate, love 
something ; love some truth as you love your sweet- 
heart, ay, with a deeper love. When there is noble 
love there never will be final failure. Love of a 
truth of God in man — there, and there only, illusion 
is not. Every effort of such love is certain of its 
end in God and man. 

These, then, are the things we learn about the 
problem of failure, from the history of the idea of the 
kingdom of God. To keep our noble hopes and 
aims clear of the elements of the world ; clear of 
self-seeking; clear of prejudice; clear of the con- 
ventional ; in the universal ; to root our life in love, 
and let nothing injure in us the power of loving. 
But when God has enabled us to do that, and from 
our point of vantage we look back on all the failures, 



illusions, disappointments, and battles through which 
we have passed to our conquest— do we learn 
nothing from the retrospect ? 

Many things, but two especially. First, that 
truth only grows clear in this world through the 
slow working-out of its inadequate or false forms ; 
and the proof, through the failure of these forms, of 
their unfitness or their falsehood. The truth itself 
can only be completely known when all its false 
forms are exhausted. It seems a clumsy arrange- 
ment, but so it is ; and we must make the best of it. 
When we complain of it, and are angry, we get 
hopelessly wrong in life. When we accept it and 
trust His goodness who has made it so, our cha- 
racter betters, our life blesses others, and we die with 
the sense of victory. But whatever we think about 
it, the thing itself is true, and it is well to know 
it. We see it working on a large scale in the 
history of the world. The great conceptions, the 
great truths which the East, Israel, Greece, Rome, 
France, England, Germany, Italy, have wrought out 
for the world have each gone, like the idea of the 
kingdom of God among the Jews, through a number 
of untrue or inadequate representations of them, over 
which incessant battle has been waged, until the 
false in them was eliminated and the true remained. 

We may look round the world now and see the 



same thing going on. The ideas which, accumulat- 
ing for some centuries under the surface of society, 
appeared a hundred years ago in France, for a time 
clearly, and then slipped into false and terrible 
forms — have ever since been passing through a 
series of inadequate forms, in which the untrue is 
being slowly exhausted, towards their fit and perfect 
form. Nearly every great conception in the realm of 
science is doing the same. And when we look into 
our own personal lives we are conscious of a similar 
law at work. We have given form after form to our 
main thoughts, to our aspiration after an ideal 
character. We have worked through these forms, 
proved the inadequacy and wrongness of the greater 
part of their elements, and come out on the other 
side of them. We call these struggles failures. 
They are in reality steps towards the true ideal — 
towards the actual truth. A few elements among 
many wrong ones we have recognised as true. We 
have kept these. That is not failure, but a partial 
success. The other elements we have rejected ; 
proved them to be false. They are exhausted for 
us ; we shall never be troubled by them again. So 
far as they are concerned, our way to the perfect is 
free. It is their failure, not ours ; and their failure 
is our success. Therefore take courage and have 
faith. Look to the end. 



In this way the working of the law brings about 
the second thing we learn — " That slowly, in nations 
and in men, in the whole of the human race, a 
character is being formed." Led on by illusions, 
quickened by ideas, hurried forward by passionate 
emotions, checked and forced to retreat by equally 
passionate though opposite emotions, depressed by 
failure^ till the cause of failures is found and the 
strength which is evolved in the search for their 
cause is secured, taught alike by being at the top of 
success and at the bottom of ruin, but always rising 
again out of the pit as long as there is any righte- 
ousness or love in us — nations and men and women 
are moulded by God, and mould themselves, into 
distinct and vigorous personality ; that is, they win 
a will with a clear aim, a veteran character which 
distinguishes them, nation from nation, individual 
from individual, until at last, in the nation and in 
the person and in humanity, hereafter, if not here, 
a vivid, clear, powerful, individual force, having its 
own work to do, emerges into the universe, knows 
its work, and does it with joy. 

Then, when one of us, or a nation, or in the end 
the whole body of humanity, realises at last living 
Being in its fulness, and is thrilled with the rapture 
of easy and powerful creation — what shall we, or 
the nation, or humanity at large, care for the troubles, 



failures or battles that have preceded the attain- 
ment ? Every memory of them will be drowned in 
the glory of having arrived at perfect Being ; or, if 
we remember them, we shall only remember not 
their pain but the stern pleasure we had in their 
conquest. By their means, or rather through their 
strait and rocky gates, we have gained actual, 
clear, and noble character ; vivid Being in love ; the 
immortal power of making, as we move, what is 
beautiful and good ; creative power and its delight- 
fulness. This is worth every trouble that has led to 
it, every failure that exhausted one of its obstacles. 
This is the great, the foremost thing. 

Have faith in that. We have reasons enough for 
despondency. Life has its dark depressions, work 
its own despairs ; efforts seem useless, and the gloom 
within is sometimes deeper than the gloom without. 
Then recall who you are — sons and daughters of the 
Lord God Almighty, of the Eternal Goodness and 
the Eternal Love who has sworn by Himself that 
He will see us through our battles into union with 
His love. And, seeing the Invisible, you will 
conquer the visible. Believe in the very teeth of un- 
belief. That is the patience of the saints. These 
are the two great things we learn. To what, now, 
do they point ? They point to a mighty Will outside 
humanity, and yet within it, who has a purpose to 



fulfil, and that purpose the perfection of man in 
union with Himself. They point to God as Father 
and Educator of the race, and they point to our 
immortality in Him. 

On the theory that there is no such will and 
power without us, no purpose whatever in this long 
history — how is the history of this huge, slow- 
marching Evolution of Humanity to be explained ? 
This slow development of truth through failure — of 
that, what explanation is there in the doctrine that 
the whole race becomes in the end corrupted dust, 
and all the truth wrought out dies in the silence and 
the inactivity of a dead universe ? Is the doctrine 
that all the movement we see is, at its beginning, 
chance, and has no clear end of noble life in view — 
any rational explanation of a course of things which 
is certainly accompanied by growth, and which seems 
to have purpose stamped upon it ? And is it any 
explanation of the slow clearing of truth that there 
should be no absolute truth at all beyond our errors ; 
no Will towards truth, who is eternal and powerful 
enough to take us up into Himself and make us 
satisfied with truth for ever? 

And that slow formation of character, of a power- 
ful, distinct personality in men and nations, is it 
really explained by the doctrine that the character 

and the personality came together by a purposeless 



series of antecedents, undirected by any will, any in- 
telligence, any moral aim, and are doomed to result in 
Nothingness ? Or, that they exist at the most for the 
purpose of enabling future nations and individuals to 
have characters and personalities of a higher quality, 
which, however higher, shall perish in their turn, as all 
at the last shall do ? Is there anyone conscious of a 
distinct being, who is seriously satisfied with such a 
statement of the cause and result of his being ? Ought 
they not to look forward to further development ? 

There is development. That we know. Does it 
abruptly cease for no reason whatever ? I do not 
say that the looking forward, and the hopes, are any 
proof that the development will be ; but I say that 
we do gain distinct being and its force, and with it 
its hopes ; and that this gain, and the conceptions 
and actions which arise from it, are facts which need 
explanation ; and that the theory which says that 
these gains and their results are only for the purpose 
that others may gain more of them and in a higher 
fashion ; and then that all, with all the gains, are to 
go out like a burnt candle ; and, to make it more 
futile, when they have reached their highest point of 
development — is no explanation of the facts at all, 
and would, if the matters which are considered were 
physical, be rejected by a scientific philosopher as a 
wholly inadequate theory. 



As to the half-formed characters either of nations 
or men — those conscious that they are only half- 
formed, who feel the bitterness of this, do they, when 
they care most for the ideal aims, for the perfection 
which they have not realised — do they believe that 
the theory which predicts their annihilation explains 
the facts of their case ? Why, it wholly passes them 
by. It coolly, cynically abandons them. They are 
only the steps on which the higher characters 
advance ; and they are kicked away. All these poor 
souls, fully half if not more of the human race, are 
absolutely lost to make a grain of gain for the 
selected folk. This is the hell of these theorists, 
and it is even more degrading than the hell of the 
orthodox. Moreover, all the selected themselves 
perish in the end, dying like fools, if they have lived 
like wise men. The whole race, even when perfected, 
blows out into the universe in a pufF of vapour. 
If ever there was a theory which was stamped with 
want of intellect, this is that theory. 

No, half things naturally suggest to the reason 
wholes which are to be. Things in us which are 
unfinished mean to the reason, judging from ex- 
perience, finish to come. Beginnings of good things 
mean, for we know by experience that good grows, 
endings in higher good. The consciousness of 
having begun, and of having been developed up 



to a certain point in moral, spiritual, and imagina- 
tive force, carries with it a just hope, and finally a 
conviction of further development; and that con- 
viction can only be fulfilled if immortality and the 
love of God be true. 

And now, what these persons feel mankind feels 
as a whole. There ascends from all the ages 
to the heavens, a vast, incessant, uttered, and 
unuttered cry for the whole — humanity groaning 
and travailing for fulness of life, to find itself equal 
to its own conception of itself; nay, to have the 
glory and the finish which it can only dream. This, 
which is historical fact, is not explained by the 
theories which leave mankind witliout a God, and 
man without immortal continuance. They shut 
their eyes to it because it contradicts them. But we 
say that it means a purpose in the universe, and the 
purpose means a Will beyond ourselves, which Will, 
if it be good, will determine the satisfaction of man's 
desires for completion and perfection. Man will 
know then the advances he made by failures, the 
successes hidden in his mistakes, the force and 
joyfulness which crown his faithful struggle. And 
that theory gives, at least, an adequate reason for 
the facts that we observe in history and in ourselves. 
It explains the unsatisfaction of humanity. 

And finally, as to truth, the same inference holds 



good. Nothing explains man's passion for it but its 
absolute existence beyond us in One who is the 
very Truth, and whose will is that it should be 
possessed, at last, by man in all its fulness. And if 
there be such a Truth, and we are from Him, and 
He is good — then it is impossible that He should 
answer the long, collective, and individual effort of 
the whole human race after truth by a grim mockery, 
** Go, you have struggled long, wept and suffered 
long, desired with inextinguishable passion the very 
truth. Take now your reward ; pass into Nothing- 
ness ; you shall never have truth." If He could do 
that, God would be worse than the worst of us. 
But He is not that. He is immortal love and justice. 
He will love us and do us justice. He is full of 
sorrow for us. Like as a father pitieth his own 
children even so God pities our long trouble ; and 
gives us, when we are worthy of it and able to use 
it, the whole truth at last. We grasp it with un- 
speakable joy; it satisfies us to the core of our 
being, and the joy of it is itself Immortal Life, and 
the Life is ever-acting Love. "Now we know in 
part, but then we shall know as we are known." 





The night is far spent, the day is at hand. 

Romans xiii. 12 

THE time has past by in which we can talk of 
the years in which we live as years of transi- 
tion in religion, except in the wide sense that ideas 
and their forms are always moving onwards. We 
are on the verge of a new world of thought and 
feeling in almost every sphere of human endeavour. 
That new world has not as yet, especially in religion 
and social philosophy, taken its clear shape ; but at 
any moment, on the lips of some man of genius, it 
may begin to know itself, and to know its aims, 
and then to run swiftly forward on its path. Art 
is at that point, so is creative literature ; so are 
social and political questions, science and criticism ; 
and so, above all, are religion and the science of 
religion. These, with their changes during the last 
thirty years, and their present position, would form, 
each of them, an interesting subject for a lecture ; 



but in this place, our business is a sermon ; and I 
shall confine myself to the existing state of Chris- 
tianity, of what Jesus called the kingdom of God ; 
and to the aims we should place before us as we 
look forwards to its new development. 

Christianity has, generation after generation, with 
all the prolific power which belongs to a. vital root, 
taken new shapes in the minds of men. The main 
forms it has taken during the last sixty years, and 
especially during the last thirty, are now exhausted 
of the good they contained. What harvest they had 
— ^and it was a very fair harvest — has been gathered 
in for the use of men, and the field is now in 
stubble; nay rather, it has been ploughed and 
sown, and we wait for the new earing. The 
nonsense that is talked about Christianity being 
dead arises from those who mistake the decay of 
old intellectual forms of it for the death of the living 
thing itself. We are at that point of one of those 
cycles of life in which the eagle is dying, but from 
the egg it leaves behind a new eagle will be born. 
As to those who say " Kill Christianity," you may 
as well try to kill Science as Christianity. A living 
spirit which lives by love in man can no more perish 
than love itself can perish. All decay in it only pro- 
duces fresher Ufe. ** Still more labyrinthine buds its 

rose." We stand upon the verge of this new life, 



and the main thing we have to do is to be alert and 
ready, accinct for the race, looking out for the call of 
God and for the fresher light of His countenance ; 
as quick to follow a true leader as we should be to 
lead, if such a duty were laid upon us; caring 
nothing for our own repute, but only for the victory 
of right and love and truth ; and rejoicing if we are 
counted worthy of fighting the good fight of faith. 
I have myself lived through the birth, the growth, 
and now through the decay of a world of thought 
about Christianity which once was new, but now is 
changing. I am ready to welcome the change with 
joy. And I bid you who are young to welcome it 
with a greater joy than mine. For a full life is 
before you. A new world is opening — its dawn is 
already in the sky; the leaves are beginning to 
shoot upon the trees of this fresh springtide. For 
you, alive and keen, it ought to be a time of joy and 
impulse. Ought you not to feel inspired just 
because you are born into days of movement and 
of difficulty ? To be young, and indifferent — that 
were a shame. See that you are worthy of the 
gladness of the spring. 

It is well, then, to know, and realise the elements 
of the new world at hand. One of those elements 
is the attempt, nay, the determination, to create a 
new society, and to get rid of the root-evils of the 

321 X 


old. That will be one of the great campaigns of 

the next thirty years. Around it gathers, as you 

must have felt, the main enthusiasm of those who 

love men, the nobler passions of men and women 

who believe in their oneness with humanity, and 

their childhood to God the Father. Its eagerness 

and its aims are not confined to one nation. It is 

among progressive peoples a universal movement. 

Its keenness and excitement are astonishing, its 

march rapid, its hopes and faith ideal, and its 

methods practical, even scientific. It is this union 

of the imaginative and the scientific which gives it a 

force which will overbear resistance. Nor does it 

belong to any one special class. Of course, the 

poorer classes who have suffered the most feel its 

hopes most keenly, but a great and increasing mass 

of persons in the comfortable classes are eagerly 

touched by its spirit, and are ready, in the emotion 

of it, to make large sacrifices for it. And, indeed, 

in its largest aim, it desires not only to regenerate 

the position of the poor, but just as much to 

regenerate the spirit of all classes, and especially of 

those who are called the upper classes of society. 

Its chief aim is justice all round, and in the hearts 

of those who pursue that aim the hope abides that 

Love, in all the forms St. Paul gives it in his noble 

Psalm of Charity, should do the work hand-in-hand 



with justice. Moreover, a new element pervades it, 
or, at least, pervades the best of those who aspire to 
it — the element of gentleness. Science has taught 
it that its advance must be slow ; historical ex- 
perience has taught it that the use of force to attain 
its ends cuts its throat, or brings back swiftly all the 
evils it strives to overthrow ; and both science and 
historical experience are at this point in harmony 
with the spirit of Christianity. There is more hope 
of its success than ever there was before, and the 
hope has increased at every point the youthful life, 
the animation as of birds in spring, which fills the 
movement. It is like that which was said by the 
prophet Joel, " And it shall come to pass afterward, 
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and 
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old 
men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall 
see visions ; and also upon the servants and upon the 
handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit." 
Can any words be closer to that new life, fresh 
hopes, and enkindled aims which now are filling the 
world, and of which the multitude of Utopias which 
are published is but one of the symptoms ? 

Into this great movement we shall come ; none of 
us will be able to stand apart from it. It has a 
hundred forms, and is quite as quick and powerful 
in art and literature and law as it is in politics and 



sociology. It has seized also on religion— on Chris- 
tianity, to which it has the closest relation. How 
shall we bear ourselves within it ? 

Well, first, we should welcome it with joy. It 
has an ideal aim such as a Christian ought to have. 
It desires a new heaven and a new earth wherein 
dwelleth righteousness. Unrighteous methods are 
put forward for its realisation by some who hate the 
ideal element in it, and desire only the material. 
Part of our work is to maintain it within the limits 
of strict righteousness ; having faith that righteous- 
ness is at the root of the law of universal develop- 
ment, and that to violate that fundamental power is 
to lose all force. To do that duty in this struggle is 
to fight the good fight of faith. 

Again, the movement will produce itself before 
us in two shapes. One will say, " Better men's 
circumstances, and a new spirit will begin to influ- 
ence and better their lives." Another will say, 
" Awaken in men a new and nobler spirit, train their 
soul, and then their circumstances will improve." 
Both these statements are true when they are taken 
together. To maintain one against the other is to 
maintain one half of a truth against the other half of 
it. No man who, being a Christian, desires the 
kingdom of God, can justly neglect giving his energy 
to the bettering of the social, physical, and educa- 



tional condition of the poor, the diseased and the 
criminal classes. But he is not a Christian, or he has 
not realised the problem fully, if that is all he does. 
Social improvement is a work portions of which any 
one can do, in which all ought to share ; but if we 
who follow Christ desire to do the best work in that 
improvement, and in the best way, we ought to strive 
— while we join in the universal movement towards 
a juster society — to give a spiritual life to that move- 
ment ; to keep it at an ideal level ; to free it from 
mere materialism ; to maintain in it the monarchy of 
self-sacrifice; to fix its eyes on invisible and un- 
worldly truths ; to supply it with noble and spiritual 
faiths ; to base all associations of men on the ground 
of their spiritual union — ^all being children of God, 
and brothers of one another, in the love and faith 
by which Jesus lived ; and to maintain the dignity 
of this spiritual communion of men in faith in their 
immortal union with God. This is the fight of faith 
we, as fellow-workers with God, shall have to wage ; 
and this not only binds us up with the poor, but 
with the rich, not only with the ignorant but the 
learned ; for on these grounds all men are seen as 
stripped of everything save of their humanity and 
their divine kinship. Nay, at the very end, as one 
argues back to a simpler and simpler expression, 
nothing remains but God in Man and Man in God ; 


The cosp^l op fo^ 

that central truth which, as long as it was conceived 
to be formalised in Jesus Christ alone, was of as 
limited a use to men, and of as limited a power over 
them, as it will be of illimitable use and power when 
it is conceived as the mother and universal truth — 
the truth that God and all the spirits which have 
flowed from Him are for ever one. To support this 
inwoven life of the divine and the human is, above 
all things else, our duty and work. This is the goal 
which, in every class, we are called upon to reach, to 
secure, and to enjoy. Improve, then, the material 
condition and the knowledge of all who are strug- 
gling for justice ; it is part of your life which if you 
neglect, you are out of touch with the new life ; but 
kindle in it, uphold and sanctify in it, the life which 
is divine, the communion with man of God, without 
union with whose character all effort for social 
improvement will revert to new miseries and new 
despair. So far for that matter. 

The next thing to speak of is a tendency in the 
world which is the very opposite of that of which 
we have spoken, but which is equally characteristic 
of a time when a new life and spirit is on the verge 
of taking its form. As part of the fight of faith is 
to support and direct the first, so part of that battle 
is to weaken and oppose the doctrine that the world 

is going from bad to worse, that there is no regene- 



ration for it, and that there ought to be none. On 

this doctrine I have frequently spoken, but I do not 

hesitate to speak of it again. It is the fashion to 

praise it; it deserves no praise, it is detestable. 

This is a favourite doctrine of the comfortable classes 

who are idle and luxurious or merely fantastic, and 

of a certain type of scientific men, both of whom are 

profoundly ignorant of the working world and of the 

poor who hate this doctrine and despise it. The 

sufferings of the poor and the oppressed are used as 

an argument in its favour, but, curiously enough, 

you scarcely ever find it held by the poor and the 

oppressed ; — on the contrary, these are the creators 

and builders of Utopias ; out of this class grow those 

who prophesy a golden year. Those who have most 

reason to despair never despair. 

But this philosophy of the worst belongs to those 

who suffer only from their extravagance and luxury 

and idleness, or from a philosophic retirement from 

the battle of mankind, or from a culture over-refined 

into a hysteria which believes itself genius, or 

from the disease of materialism, or, as in the 

Universities, from youthful playing with these 

theories as toys of the mind. It is a doctrine which 

naturally appears when a new life is at hand, for it 

is the wailing of the old life which is dying, the 

moaning of its disease ; and is as characteristic of 



such decay as the previous doctrine I have described 
is characteristic of the labour-pains of the coming 
life. Its chief home among the exhausted classes is 
with those bitten to death with luxury and idleness, 
men and women worn out with pleasure ; with those 
who only believe in natural laws and who recognise 
nothing beyond the sway of intellectual analysis ; 
with the small poets and artists who voice and paint 
the sensual, the ugly and the base in human nature. 
What else can they represent, for they see nothing 
else ; blind to the enchanted dawn, to the uprising 
spring ; and detesting the naturalness, the rudeness, 
and the simplicity of the new conceptions. Thus it 
was when the Book of Ecclesiastes was written; 
thus in the Roman Empire when Jesus came, thus 
before the French Revolution. Thus it is among a 
certain class at present ; and one of its most marked 
characteristics is the contempt of those who hold it 
for those who do not go with them — a contempt 
which proves their incapacity to act, and the dotage 
of their thought. However, we need not be too 
angry with them. The new Hfe rises as the old 
decays. Daniel and the book of Enoch, both enthu- 
siastic prophecies of a new heaven and earth, were 
written side by side with Ecclesiastes ; the wail of 
Rome*s decay was met by the joy of Christianity. 

The cynicism of France before the Revolution was 



overwhelmed by thousands of books and pamphlets 
full of prophecy. These creatures who preach death 
are only born to perish. 

Moreover, the Goths are coming on them, and 
we need the Goths, if Philosophy, Art, Literature, 
or Religion are to continue. Pessimism ends by 
slaughtering those noble things, for it imprisons 
thought and effort ; it puts a stop to all work to re- 
deem the weak and criminal world ; it mocks at, and 
degrades love. 

Nevertheless, a degrading doctrine like that is 
best met, not by incessant attack of it, but by build- 
ing up living interests which will kindle men ; by 
awaking noble passions among men ; by glorifying 
by our life and work the world-wide duties and the 
great aspirations of mankind ; by forming in thought 
and shaping by imagination vital and beautiful ideals, 
and by sacrificing our lives, in a pure, clear flame, 
upon their altars ; by expanding and developing the 
aims and the work of humanity, and by believing in 
God, the Father of men, and living like His children. 
Faith in man and faith in God ; faith in the glorious 
end to which the vast struggle of the Titan works ; 
faith in the victory in which it is to close, will enable 
you to fight the good fight against the doctrine of 
those poor and diseased folk, who maintain, at the 
very moment when the bright child of a new age is 



about to be born, that universal death is the most 
fitting end of the evolution of man. I welcome you 
to this battle. Fight it well, with the sword of the 
Spirit, with the shield of Faith upon your breast, and 
the joyful Hope of salvation shining on your head. 

This is the main statement of the battle to which 
we are called, and of the conditions under which it 
will be waged, reduced to their simplest expression, 
or to one of their simplest expressions. I should 
like to hang on to it two codicils, if I may be allowed 
to use that term, one with regard to knowledge and 
another with regard to beauty. 

Knowledge is necessary for the faith you have to 
defend ; the faith in God and Man. The best know- 
ledge is one which, if you are human persons, you 
will gain day by day — the knowledge of the human 
heart — and there is only one way of gaining it, and 
that is by loving men and women well. The labour 
for that knowledge is long and difficult to bring into 
working order ; and we must keep it as our fore- 
most object Above all, we must take care lest the 
winning of other knowledge hide from us, or prevent 
us from striving after, this knowledge, the most 
importailt we can secure. 

But that is not what we generally understand by 
knowledge. To winning all that we ought to know 

of what others have thought and done, we devote a 



good part of our lives, and no better work could be 
done. It is absolutely necessary. But the question 
then is — ^What are we doing with it ; what are we 
going to do with it ? The reply may be put briefly. 
There are two ways in which we may chiefly use 
knowledge. The first is for criticism, and it has its 
use and excellence. But the over-development of it 
at the present day is a mark of that decay of life 
•which belongs to a part of our society. It goes 
along with an exhausted world. Use knowledge 
then for criticism, but not altogether; nor even 
chiefly. Too much use of it, for that purpose, leads 
to pride and vanity ; and in the end, to the decay of 
intelligence and the uses of intelligence. 

The true use of knowledge, and that use of it 
which belongs to a living and larger world, such as 
is now on the point of birth, is for creation. Our 
main work is to shape our knowledge within our- 
selves into new and vital forms ; and then issue it, 
new-minted, for the use and joy of men ; suffused 
with spiritual thought, bright with imagination, 
and aflame with those new interests which kindle 
men into a fresher life. Leave, for the most part, 
criticism alone, and give yourself to some creation ; 
that is, to the shaping into some clear form, with an 
individual touch in it, of whatever you have grasped, 
understood, thought or felt. That will awaken and 



interest your soul and awaken and interest the 
world of men* For, just as criticism alone ministers 
to pride and then to death, so creation, even of the 
smallest kind, ministers to humility. And that 
stands to reason : the slightest act of shaping in- 
stantly opens before you an ever-expanding sea, 
and the vision of the infinite is the death of vanity 
and pride. But to create anything ministers also 
to life. To make a new and individual thing kindles 
the sense of life and awakes the desire of it in 
others. And when we do that, we belong to the new 
period of life and thought and feeling, which is being 
even now born into the world. It is life, not death the 
world wants to enable it to spring out of its shadows. 
And criticism, analysis, science do not give that. 
The true use of knowledge is to supply means for 
creation ; and when creativeness is gained, then its 
use for criticism comes in, but not till then wisely. 

Secondly, whatever, out of your knowledge, you 
create, shape as beautifully as you can. Give it 
charm, that quality which will make men desire it 
and follow after it with love. More than half your 
true success — by which I mean your influence on 
mankind for its good and progress — will depend on 

Beauty is far too much neglected. It never 
belongs to criticism ; it ought by right to be always 



bound up with creation. What it is, is hard to 
define ; but, whenever anything in nature or in the 
thoughts and doings of man awakens a noble desire 
of seeing more of it ; kindles pure love of it ; seems 
to open out before us an infinite of it which allures 
us into an endless pursuit ; stimulates reverence, 
and makes the heart leap with joy — ^there is beauty, 
and with it always is imagination, the shaping power. 
The capacity for seeing beauty with the heart is 
one of the first necessities for such a life in a living 
world as I now urge upon you. When you see it, you 
always see more and more of it. And the more you 
see it, the more love and reverence you will feel in 
your heart ; and the less you will care to criticise, and 
the more you will care to create. The world needs 
it now, and the glory of it, more almost than any- 
thing else, for nearly all the world has lost the power 
of seeing it. The monied men want it ; the scientific 
men want it ; the artists themselves have of late 
betrayed it ; the business men want it. The middle 
class and the aristocracy are almost destitute of it ; 
the working men abide in conditions in which its 
outward forms are absent. To give them the power 
to see all that is lovely in nature, in human thought, 
in art, and in the noble acts of men — that is a great 
part of your work, and you should realise it and 
shape it day by day. 



Lastly, we are now part of a world which, having 
exhausted one form of Christianity, and not having 
as yet shaped another fitted for a new age, is full of 
active unbelief or inactive carelessness concerning 
the things which belong to the spiritual life. When 
the understanding, the analysing intellect, is made, 
not what it is — an excellent servant in the house 
of life — but the master of life; when the purse 
and its children, display and luxury and greed of 
more, are the lords of action, and of what is called 
thought in society — then the imagination, the desire 
of the infinite, the noble imperatives of eternal 
righteousness and love, the impelling emotions of 
the invisible truths of the spirit are kept in 
prison. Therefore, lay hold of eternal life ; on 
the life which lives on earth for the love of 
God the Father, for the following and the faith of 
Jesus, for those truths which are invisible, im- 
material, and eternal ; the support and pursuit of 
which are worth all the wealth and honour, rank 
and knowledge of the earth. Lay hold on these, 
not only as belonging to the life you live for the sake 
of your fellow-men, but as belonging also to a life 
to come, in which you and your brothers on earth 
shall partake of God for ever. 

It is not much use to argue with, or to attack 
those who live for the things of this world alone. 



You will not do much good in that way, but only 
make a fruitless noise which will set the world more 
closely to its own pursuits. But you will do good, 
and fight the good fight of faith, by a personal grasp 
of this spiritual life ; by so deep a conviction of it 
that your whole life will be its witness ; by so great 
a love of it that all men will feel that this life is the 
first to you, and inconceivably dear to you — so dear 
that you can no more join in the view which says 
" all the world is bad " than you can help joining in 
the new life, which declares that "the world is 
passing on to a new and nobler being." Then when 
that belief is yours, it is so uplifting that all your 
knowledge wiU become creative, and all your creation 
beautiful. That is the deepest foundation of the 
Christian life in the world, now, and for the future. 
It rests on the faith of Jesus, that God is in this 
world, the Father of every man, the Spirit who 
moves them onward into perfection, stage after stage, 
revelation after revelation. And that is the very life 
and voice of a Christian's prophesying. Prophesy 
it with courage, with faith, with joyful hope, and 
imaginative joy, before the old and decaying world, 
that it may forget its exhaustion, and die that it 
may live. Prophesy it within the new and up- 
springing life of the world, that it may fulfil the 
nobler society to which it now aspires. 





Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of 
eternal life. 

St. John vL 68 

IT may well be asked, in these times of change, 
when men, in matters of religion, change for 
the most part towards loss of the religious ideas 
and call it progress, whether we have changed in 
that fashion, and let slip down the wind the great 
conceptions on which the religion of Christ stands 
fast and immutable amid the tumbling waves. 
And I have asked myself that question, and we may 
all ask ourselves the same. Have we changed the 
ground of our faith? Is what was dear to us 
ten years ago dear to us to-day? What we 
believed to be true ten years ago, do we believe to 
be true to-day ? For my part I have found nothing 
more excellent than the teaching of Jesus Christ, 
and I see nothing which even approaches it in 



I trust that it may be the same with you. Many 
new religions, many new foundations of thought, 
are offered to us on which to build our life. The 
teaching of Christ is put aside by many; it is 
thought by others to have some weight, but that its 
excellence has been exaggerated. There are some 
even who cry it down. 

But it will outlast all its enemies, and it remains 
greater than all the religions and ethical theories 
which have endeavoured to replace it. Only it is 
well in these times of confusion to understand clearly 
what it is, what are its fundamental ideas ; to clear 
it from its excrescences ; to say that many things 
said to belong to it do not belong to it at all. By 
itself, it is of the greatest simplicity, beauty, and 
eternity. And it is so because it rests on Love, 
that is, it rests on God, who, if He were not Love, 
would have no real existence at all. What it is 
I will declare to-day — the everlasting Gospel to the 
human race. 

When I say it is simple, I mean that it is not 
involved with all the doctrinal schemes which men, 
partly for the sake of retaining a tyrannical authority 
over the souls of their fellows, and partly in order 
to make Christianity subservient to the logical 
understanding, have built up around it. All these 
schemes, such as are contained in the Nicene Creed, 



in the sacerdotal theories of the Roman Church, in 
the " Confessions " of the various sects, are intellec- 
tual, not spiritual arrangements, are necessarily 
transient, belonging to the world, and have nothing 
to do with the plain spiritual and eternal ideas 
which Jesus declared. They are not to be found in 
a single thing He said. They arose after His death : 
they are the product of blind logic, not of the seeing 
spirit; of limited thought, not of infinite feeling. They 
are the poor prose of the transient ecclesiastic, not 
the noble poetry of the Eternal Father — and without 
rejecting the use of them altogether, whenever they 
do not militate against the love of God and man 
(for that is the test of their use), we say that they 
are of no vital or absolute importance at all, and 
have nothing to do with eternal life. They are of 
the temporary, unspiritual world, the world of the 
limited intellect — and the fashion of that world 
passeth away. Clear your mind of them ; live 
within on a higher plane than that on which they 
move. Your religion is to dwell in the Love of the 
Father whose children you are, not in that conten- 
tious argument of men upon doctrines of religion 
which does away with the Fatherhood of God and 
the Brotherhood of man. 

And, indeed, the first and foremost truth which 
Christ taught was that we are not alone in this 



sorrowful world ; but that, beyond all its sorrows, 
we are in the closest possible relation to Him who 
made the world of men, and in whom its sorrows are 
contained. Why sorrows and sins prevail on earth, 
we can but dimly see, but in spite of them, Jesus — 
and surely few have suffered more than He — believed 
and maintained that God bore to us the personal 
relation of a Father, and that we were His dear 
children whom He loved. ** There," He thought, " is 
the healing of the world, the medicine for sin and 
sorrow." Indeed, to believe this is to bring right- 
eousness into life and joy into pain. 

When we know that we love God and that God 
loves us, we are healed of the grievous wounds of 
life. In the infinite flood of divine and human love 
our sins and sorrows are drowned, and the ark of joy 
and peace alone survives. To have the heart full 
of love, and to feel that we are infinitely loved, is so 
divine a passion that it lifts us into a world where 
we forget our pains and wrong. We feel our pains 
and sins, but even when we feel them, and many 
are our days of depression, we feel them only for a 
time. We know they will come to an end, and all 
the arguments based on them against the goodness 
and love of God drift away like feeble clouds before 
the summer wind. The soul is at peace, though life 

be shipwrecked in the storm. We know, though we 



have been battered by sin, that through love of Love 
we are becoming righteous. We know, though 
sorrows are deep, that out of hunger for righteous- 
ness we are attaining joy. We understand, though 
we are left as lonely often as a mountain peak, that 
we are not alone, for the Father is with us. 

This is the first truth as it is in Jesus. We are 
of kin to God ; one with Him for ever ; children who 
are loved by Him, and who will, as the ages pass 
by, come to love Him as He loves us. That divine 
and glorious end of universal love — all the children 
brought to love their Father, the Father living in 
the heart of every child — that is the '* far-oflF divine 
event to which the whole creation moves." 

Children, even the worst, are not abandoned 
by a good father upon earth. Much more they 
are not abandoned by their Father in heaven, in 
whom goodness is deeper than the ocean of space I 
But He does not make them good by force, by 
miraculous command. He sets us to work out our 
salvation, with His help, as true men win their 
liberty — by their own struggle. We must conquer 
goodness at the point of the sword. Through 
mighty effort against wrong, through free choice of 
good, through troubles and endurance, even through 
depths of wrong, God leads His children at last to 
realise their true being and to know Him as theirs 



for ever. That was the belief and the Gospel of 
Christ; and its proclamation — ^that God was the 
Lover of all, a universal Father — made a new world. 
Had it been held by all, we should be now a 
thousand years in advance of what we are. But the 
theologians and the doctrine-mongers limited God's 
Fatherhood ; made it true only on conditions which 
they themselves, for the sake of keeping their power, 
imposed on men. It is on the shoulders of those 
among them who limited the illimitable love of Christ, 
that the crime lies of destroying the progress of the 
world, of injuring the whole body of humanity, of 
degrading Christ, of making men into haters of God 
and deniers of love. 

It seems of late, and here especially in England, 
that these limits put to the universal love of God are 
less insisted on ; that excluding others from God's 
love is less thought to be the special mark of Chris- 
tians ; that we are finding a common ground of faith 
and conduct in the recognition of the unconditional 
love of God — and for this belated return to the 
good news of Christ, I thank God and take courage. 
At any rate, let us, who have found the faith that 
God holds all in His love, cling to it, teach it by 
our life, and proclaim it night and day. It is the 
highest of truths; and when we have found the 
highest, our business is to live it ; and to love it 



with all our heart and soul and mind and strength ; 
and not to love ourselves. That was the first idea 
of Jesus. 

The second declaration Christ made followed on 
the first. It was the declaration of the Forgiveness 
of Sins. That God was perfectly good was part of 
Christ's thought ; but as He looked round on man, 
He saw that man had greatly given himself over to 
evil. If men were then to know that God was their 
Father, they would have to give up sin and take 
to goodness. Therefore Christ's teaching said — If 
men will only love God, only obey the call of God's 
spirit in them, they will have power to leave off sin 
and to do righteousness. Perfect goodness loves 
you ; love Him a little in return, and do His will. 
And then, living in His will with love, you must cease 
to sin ; and when you cease to sin because you 
love goodness, your sins are forgiven ; they are re- 
membered no more. To be sure, we shall suffer, 
but what of that ? The pain of natural punishment 
is nothing when we are at home with God again. 
If we are loved we can bear suffering with patience 
and in hope. 

The removal of the natural results of wrong-doing, 
of what we call punishment, is not forgiveness. 
Forgiveness is to feel at one with love, with our 
Father's heart ; to feel like a child to God ; to feel 



the Strange delight that we are in union with God 
and His righteousness, and to do what the feeling 
urges ; to feel the emotion of joy in that urging us to 
the act of good Yes, that is the Forgiveness of 
Sins. A new life is open to us. We hear the voice 
of Jesus : " Go, you will sin no more." 

Of all the wants of the world, none were deeper 
than this. No misery is greater than the conscious- 
ness that having had a tendency to love and justice, 
to purity and pity, to wisdom and temperance, we 
have become unjust, envious, full of hatred, disso- 
lute, fond of the baseness of the flesh, cruel, living 
in folly and shame, intemperate in selfish desire, 
tyrannised over by self; and, living with these com- 
panions, restless and unsatisfied, self-horrified, in- 
wardly ashamed. Men keep their unhappy hearts to 
themselves, but that silent, bitter cry of unquiet 
shame and fear, of longing for release, for peace and 
goodness, rises like a vast cloud of sorrow toward 
heaven from the universal heart of man. Ethics do 
not cure that, nor science, nor philosophy, nor 
humanitarianism : it is an inward matter of misery. 
Religious discussions do not help it. It is no 
remedy for that to be able to balance doctrine against 
doctrine and to analyse by logic the schemes of the 
Churches. It does not cure that to be a master- 
critic, to apply science to the miracles, and the laws 



of history to the Bible. The real matter is deep 
within, beyond these transitory things. Knowledge, 
the mind of man, can do nothing to help this sorrow 
to a final cure. 

But the spirit of Christ can. For nearly twenty 
centuries, the words, the character, the life, the 
teaching, and the death of Jesus, all they were, and 
all they mean, have brought healing to this universal 
misery of man. There are millions of lives to testify 
to this being true. The lost have found themselves ; 
the sinners have ceased to sin ; the miserable have 
become happy ; the restless have reached peace ; the 
dissolute have become pure; the malicious and 
envious have learned to love ; the selfish have devoted 
themselves to others ; the poor of soul have become 
rich, the useless useful ; the fearful brave, and the 
enslaved free. Where the secret lies we cannot 
altogether know, but we shall know hereafter. 
What we do know is the facts ; the results of the 
teaching of Christ. Men are redeemed ; and beneath 
every form of Christianity that is the permanent 
thing. The dogmas do not count, the criticism, the 
discussions are nothing : the healing power, the 
forgiveness of sins — that is all. It is the power 
within to lead a new life and to forget the burden of 
the past — a mighty thing indeed 1 And the reason 
of it all is contained in those words of Jesus, if we 



could but reach their infinite depth in thought. 
" Her sins which are many are forgiven her, for she 
loved much." That was the second declaration of 
Jesus, and it followed from His doctrine of a Father 
of men who, being good, loved them, and could not, 
consistently with fatherhood, leave His children to 
be mastered by evil. He was bound to make them, 
in the end, holy with Himself. 

But this inferred a third truth — ^the immortality of 
the soul, of the conscious personality of the child of 
God. The Father is immortal, therefore the child. 
Goodness and Love— two names of the same thing 
— ^are necessarily eternal. If the child is to reach 
the goodness and love of the Father, he must be as 
eternal as the Father. If all this trouble be taken 
with the individual child, it is ridiculous to the 
reason, and inconceivable to the heart, that the 
Father should fling that which He laboured for and 
loved into annihilation. If we allow that God is a 
Father, that conclusion of death is unthinkable. 
Then, also, thousands and thousands of persons in 
our scrap of seventy years do not, and cannot, get rid 
of their evil. What shall we say to that ? We say 
that if the Fatherhood of God imply the redemption 
of Man, as Christ maintained, then there must be 
another life in which these wretched children are 
redeemed. If Love is to be Lord of all, if it is Lord 


of all, we cannot be left to death or to evil. God 
would, in doing so, violate His own nature, be false 
to the very basis of His being. If there be a Father, 
not one child loses his life for evermore. 

Of course if there be no God, or if He be a tyrant, 
these arguments fall through ; and the fact is, that 
those who disbelieve immortality are driven to dis- 
belief in God, or to disbelief in His being Love. But 
Christ did not disbelieve in immortal life for man* 
He said it inevitably followed on his faith in the 
Fatherhood of God; and He proclaimed the immor- 
tality of His brother men ; and indeed without it, all 
His previous declarations would have been as snow 
in the water. They would have died as they fell on 
the heart of man. 

These are the three great ideas that Christ pro- 
claimed to the personal soul ; and in them, for our 
individual lives, all Christianity is contained. The 
first secures Love, with its universal power. The 
second secures Conduct, the doing of righteousness, 
with its universal use. The third secures Life, 
with its universal joy, and the life will finally be at 
one with Love and Righteousness. The three 
truths mingle, like the three primary colours, into 
absolute light. Of course, we can weave out of 
them by intellectual analysis all kinds of doctrines, 
forms and ceremonies; but these rise and pass 



away, and they have no weight except for a time. 
They are unnecessary in the eternal world of God ; 
not one of them touches our salvation, that is, our 
union with God ; they are human, not divine ; of the 
Church and the sect, not of Christ. Of course, we 
can make out of them all the motives and means for 
the infinite variety of spiritual emotion in the various 
souls of men ; in their art and literature and life ; 
but these are but the playing of the waves in our 
souls at the bidding of the winds of circumstance. 
They ruffle the surface of the ocean. The deep 
unfathomable ocean itself is the three great Christian 
conceptions, the three great Christian truths — the 
Fatherhood of God, the Forgiveness of Sins, the 
Immortality of the Soul. These are Christianity, 
and all the rest is either transient, or unnecessary. 
These are the three that abide ; these are the most 
excellent thoughts on which a man can anchor his 
ship of life. These, as the world passes away and 
the desire thereof, endure and shine like the eyes 
of God Himself. Our business and our glory is to 
live in them ; to abide in the abiding ; to cling to 
the most excellent 

This then is the teaching of Christ in relation 
to the individual soul. But if that were all, more 
than half of our deepest interests would be left 
out. More than half of human life would be un- 



appealed to. The expansion of the soul in love 
would not only be unsecured, it would also be 
injured. If that were the whole of religion, it 
might end in fixing our thoughts only on ourselves ; 
and end, through engendering selfishness, in the 
death of religion. 

Folk have made this personal religion all; but 
that was not the way of Christ. He secured a 
personal religion by bringing each of us into the 
closest contact with our Father, but He swept us 
far beyond that individual relation. His whole life 
and His death maintained that we were to pass 
beyond ourselves into union with mankind, and that 
only in sacrifice of self for those not ourselves, 
could we win our true life. He that loveth his life 
shall lose it, he that loseth his life the same shall 
find it. Die for men ; die for the truths that bless 
and redeem men ; die for the love of your brethren, 
if you would live. Death of self for love's sake is 
life eternal. 

Thus He bound up personal with collective 
religion, the individual soul with the soul of mankind; 
the love of God with the love of man ; the particular 
with the universal. In His relation to God within 
His own soul, Jesus stood alone with God, and His 
individuality was preserved. In our separate rela- 
tion to God, each in bis own soul, our individuality 



is also secured for ever. But in the relation of Jesus 
to God as the Father of mankind, He stood, not alone 
as an individual, but as a vital partof an innumerable 
company of His fellows, for whom He was bound, 
as the first of practical duties, to live and die with 
love and joy ; and in that relation His spiritual col- 
lectivism was secured. In our relation to Grod as 
the Father of mankind, we are brothers of all men, 
bound to live for them in self-sacrificing love ; and 
in that relation our spiritual collectivism is secured. 
Nor was this apart from Christ's first doctrine of the 
Fatherhood of God, into which single truth all other 
truths run up, and in which they are implicitly con- 
tained. For if men are by right of their created 
humanity children of one Father, then the necessary 
conclusion is that they are brothers one of another, 
and woven into one whole in a fraternity of love. 

Of all the doctrines of Christ this has been the 
most violated, the most disbelieved in practice, the 
most difHcult to realise ; and, alas ! some of the worst 
violators of it have been those who claimed the 
religion of Jesus as their special possession. Till it 
is better understood, till it is made the absolute rule, 
till the Christian Churches and sects make any 
doctrine or practice that violates or limits the loftiest 
conception of human and divine love, a lie to believe 
and a villany to do, Christ is not fully believed in, is 



unequally known, and the progress of mankind into 

union with one another and the Father delayed and 

injured. It is towards the brotherhood in God that 

mankind is blindly struggling; and it is a woeful 

thing to find those who call themselves Christians 

proclaiming by their excluding doctrines and their 

intolerant practice that they have nothing to do 

with that brotherhood of man which is founded on 

the Fatherhood of God, and which was so central 

a doctrine of Christ that He died on the cross to 
secure it, after He had liv^d a life to practise it, and 
to preach it. 

Here, however, it is, and it is the leading idea of 
the whole world ; of all association, of all human 
fraternities, of all noble equality, of all progress* 
Let men be bound in infinite love to one another 
as brothers, because they are the children of God, 
who will redeem them from evil into immortal 
union with Himself. That is the thought of Christ, 
and I defy the whole world to formulate one more 
noble, more beautiful, and more excellent. 

Children of God, Brothers one of another, re- 
deemed from all evil, immortal in love, these are 
the ideas of Christ for the human race. This is 
Christianity, and the application of these ideas to 
mankind is as universal, as unconditional with regard 
to redemption, as infinite in duration, as is the 

353 2 


nature of the universal, unconditioned, infinite 
Being, from whom they came into the mind of man. 
We should be fools and blind, if having understood 
them, we accepted as the foundation of life any 
ideas less splendid, less all-embracing, less close 
to the human heart, less rooted and grounded in 

Men have offered to us many phantoms of religion 
of late. Many societies, each with its theory to bind 
human creatures together in worship and love, have 
knocked at our door to tell us the truth of life. 
Materialism has sought our suffrages, and humani- 
tarianism. Ethics and science have offered us their 
dishes and said : '* Eat and be satisfied." Vague 
optimisms and mud-rooted pessimisms ; a religion of 
humanity and a religion of unchristian theism, have 
filled our ears with their cries, but when we have 
found the more excellent, we are not likely to descend 
to the less. We wish them all good fortune so far 
as they minister to love. But when we are asked 
for the foundation of life, we turn to Jesus and say : 
" Lord, to whom shall we go ? Thou hast the words 
of eternal life." 






Neither shall they say, Lo here I or, lo there ! for, 
behold, the kingdom of God is unthinyou. 

St. Lukb xxii. 21 

'TpHERE is one question which occurs to every 
* minister in Church and sect, to every in- 
telligent member of a congregation. It is this : '' Is 
there any general statement, even law, which may 
be laid down with regard to the best way of preach- 
ing and the main subject of preaching?" If that 
were possible, it would be an equal good for those 
who speak and those who hear, and it would apply 
to the case of teachers and congregations, in every 
religious body, over the whole world. 

The main subject of preaching is the human 
heart of man and the human heart of God, and 
their natural relation of love to one another. All 
that belongs to love — of man to man, of man to God, 
of God to man — that is the main subject. And the 
best way of speaking of it is always to keep close to 



human nature; to the common, simple, universal 
outgoings of the very heart of man. To do that is 
to keep close to Christ. 

Of course, there would naturally be exceptions to 
this, or what would seem exceptions. When a 
crisis in foreign or domestic affairs occurs, which 
involves the principles of freedom and justice on 
which our national life is founded, it would be wrong 
not to speak of the principles involved in it in the 
pulpit, as the Prophets of Israel spoke in their 
day. When a crisis in theological thought arises, 
or in social movements towards a nobler life for the 
people, we must speak directly and unmistakably ; 
but even in these crises we speak chiefly because 
below the political, economical, or intellectual points 
concerned, there lies in these questions that which 
impassionates the human heart ; which has to do 
with our love of man ; and with our love of God 
the mover of men. 

And there are times also, perhaps every year, 
when it is wise to preach sermons on matters of 
doctrine or practice seen from the standpoint of the 
intellect alone ; on matters of theological interest or 
ceremony — academic sermons which tell us how to 
analyse and formulate our faith, how to wring the 
laws of religious development out of the history 
of religion. These are exceptions which the rule 



allows, provided the rule be obeyed ; and they are 
wisely kept distinct from the sermon, in sets of 
lectures or courses, because there is a great danger 
lest the minister and the congregation may come to 
like them so well that they may cease to care about 
the emotions of the human heart, or the aspirations 
of the human soul ; and even altogether to ignore 
the spirit of man and its life with God, the imagina- 
tions of which and their feelings move and rejoice 
beyond the region alike of the intellect and the 
conscience. And then religion decays, and the 
church or chapel, where this kind of discourse forms 
the rule, thins away into vanity and emptiness. 

As exceptions then such discourses are useful, 
even needful; but the bread and meat, the water 
and wine, the air and light of the pulpit and the 
church from week to week and year to year ; that 
by which minister and people live and move and 
have their being ; by which they grow in power and 
in unity ; by which they extend their force beyond 
themselves, and draw the outward world to them — 
is the continuous preaching of the human heart of 
man and of the human heart of God. The doings 
of human nature which kindle pity, imagination, and 
love ; the distresses of human nature under tempta- 
tion and trial; its just unhappiness in the bitter 
days of sin ; its rescue and repentance and joy in 



deliverance ; its deep desires for the invisible and 
the absolute, in which men most feel their brother- 
hood to man and their immortal kindred with a God 
who loves them; the natural feelings in which all 
men share, and in which we believe God shares, in 
which even the animals partly share ; the universal, 
common loves and sorrows, joys and aspirations of 
the impassioned soul, and their working in human life 
— there is the main region of a preacher's work, the 
foundation, the building, the furniture, and the orna- 
ment of it. There is only one day in the week in 
which this vital business is chiefly done, publicly, by 
the human heart speaking to other hearts with the 
force of personality. Why should we use up that 
day, and shirk its special work, in essays, lectures, 
discourses, which belong to other realms than the 
realm where God and the soul embrace ; where the 
heart of man meets with the immense humanity to 
which it belongs ? 

The world in which we live is a sorely tormented 
world, full of woeful sins and their desolate results ; 
torn with sorrows, terrible with inward and silent 
battles. The men and women who sit below the 
minister, the minister himself — if we could but look 
within upon the world of their hearts or on the 
labour of their spirit — are, for the most part, tossed 

in storms, crying for light and peace, fighting despe- 



rately against wrong, stretching forth their hands 
to God, or vainly longing for a sight of Him. 
And when on one day in the week we come, freed 
from the outward, to hear our brother's voice speak 
to the inner life, we want to listen to something 
which touches our own trouble and the vast trouble 
of the world. We desire to hear how we can justly 
forget our sins, and get rid of them ; how God 
can help us ; how we can conquer our sorrows and 
get their good ; how we can love and how we are 
loved; and how the inevitable and terrible pain 
of our brothers can be relieved. We need to be 
told of joy and sympathy and comfort, of the powers 
of love with us in the fierce warfare which we 
cannot escape. This is the voiceless cry which goes 
up Sunday after Sunday from congregated human 
hearts all over the world. What have we to say 
to it? 

We live in a world of controversy. Day by day, 
week by week, we are divided into parties that war 
with one another ; denouncing, battering, even hating 
each other, as we contend about political, social, 
economical, literary, theological, and scientific ques- 
tions — obscure, unsettled questions of the intellect. 
The press is filled with this work ; our daily life from 
Sunday to Sunday, our social meetings are filled 
with it. Fighting and noise, obscurity and com- 



plexity beset us ; and it is all but impossible to hear 
the still voices ; to breathe the fresh air of the 
infinite ; to touch the quiet of God, or to sit among 
the mother-thoughts of the universe. 

So, wearied, we hope on one day at least to escape 
from this noise ; to feel what love and gentleness and 
tolerance mean ; to forget that we are men of a party 
and to remember that we are men and brothers ; to 
get into the deep quiet that lies at the heart of things ; 
to touch what is simple, and easy to be understood, 
and childlike to feel, what belongs to poor and rich, 
to learned and unlearned, to the child and the old 
man, to the one universal human heart which flows 
deep and strong below the surface of life — that sur- 
face ruffled so fiercely by the winds of our parties 
and our problems, crossed so incessantly by the ships 
which bear our vain and quarrelling and imper- 
manent desires. These are the things we want, as 
we meet on Sunday — rest and love, simplicity and 
peace ; no controversy ; things for the soul that 
need no debate, things that endure. A voiceless 
cry goes up for them from the congregated hearts of 
the world. What have we to say to it ? 

We live in a world of steady commonplace. All 

the week long we are at business, in the midst 

of money-making and law, labour and trade ; shut up 

in material things from morn to evening, fixed dowq 



to deadening toil, or drifting in idleness from club 
to club| from amusement to amusement, tied to the 
vulgar chariots of society. Beyond ourselves and our 
class, beyond our commerce, speculation, bitter labour 
or thoughtless entertainment, we have few thoughts 
or hopes. Our life belongs to the visible, the 
transient, and the material. Even our pursuit of 
knowledge, our art and literature, are turned into 
matters of money and success in the world. 

Yet, he would have a false view of human nature 
who imagined that this is all that it desires. Deep 
below this self-interested and outside life, even in 
those most enslaved by it, the soul aspires. It 
seeks the perfect ; the love and beauty which are 
eternal ; the invisible things of God ; the world in 
which all the vain realities of the earth are as dust 
and ashes ; the hopes and faiths which are un- 
provable but felt and loved. It seeks the creations 
of the pure imagination which eye hath not seen 
nor ear heard. In spite of all the tyranny of the 
material, the soul follows the gleam ; the ideal lifts 
its glittering head above the turbid waters of the 
real, and claims to be the veritable real. 

In nourishing and in kindling in man this pursuit 
of the invisible and the perfect is the salvation of 
persons and societies, of nations and of the whole 
world. Men need that it should be awakened and 



encouraged at least once a week ; they need to hear 
of things which have nothing to do with money and 
business and fashion, with the course of the world 
that passes away ; to touch the life of God, the ideal 
hopes and desires of the spirit, the infinite love, the 
ineffable beauty, the righteousness which is never 
satisfied with itself, and the absolute self-forgetful- 
ness. On one day at least let us be drawn upwards 
into the light which never was on sea or land, into 
the country where the spirit is at home, and walks, 
a happy guest, with the great ideas. A voiceless cry 
for help goes up from men and women overwhelmed 
by the pressure of the material world I What have 
we to say to it ? 

To satisfy, even to speak to these cries, is not an 
easy thing to do. It is ten times easier to write 
essays on subjects of art, of literature, of history, of 
sociology, of science, of ethical matters, of theo- 
logical doctrine ; and indeed these discourses have, 
as I have said, their use and place. But to preach 
in the other fashion — to speak home to the soul 
troubled with temptation, sin and sorrow; to get 
down to the simple foundations of the universe, 
where is quiet, and where love lets us loose from 
controversy ; to find and manifest the ideals which 
abide in the hiding-places of human nature; to call 
on its primaeval powers — that is not easy : it is so 



difficult that it is continually evaded. Nor, indeed, 
are men prepared to ask for such teaching. They 
welcome it when it comes ; when they hear it, they 
know they have wanted it ; but till they hear it, they 
do not know what they want. The education given 
in all the schools of the country, in colleges and in 
universities, takes no note of these things. It is 
almost wholly intellectual, scientific, and critical. 
The world-tendency at present puts the things of 
the inner life of the heart and spirit aside, and 
dwells altogether on that which is to be seen and 
proved ; on the matters which can be analysed by 
the intellect, or put into successful practice by the 
business capacities. It is difficult, in the midst of 
this, to believe in, and speak to, the wants and 
passions of the soul in man, but it is a difficulty 
which ought to be faced and conquered; and the 
whole world will be grateful to any one who 
conquers it. 

The task is not easy, nor is its preparation. Both 
need a knowledge of human nature — a knowledge 
hard to attain, a knowledge we can scarcely begin 
to attain till our education is over; a knowledge 
which must be pursued with undying eagerness 
and sympathy all our lives long. Moreover, day 
by day, as this knowledge grows, we shall have to 
take it with us to the throne of God, and bind it 



up with Him who is the source of human nature — 
so that we can never think of Man or speak of Man 
without thinking of God and speaking of God, and 
never think or speak of God without thinking and 
speaking of Man. 

To believe in this way in God; to try to know 
the infinite personalities of human nature ; to have 
enough imagination to see face to face the trouble 
of humanity ; to love and understand its good, and 
through its good its evil ; to hear the vast travail of 
the race working out, through sorrow and sin, 
through its passion for rest and for the perfect, 
the new humanity which is to be; to penetrate 
below the surface of life, and there to watch and 
help in the battles of the individual soul; to feel 
with all the universal and common passions ; to get 
down to the parent laws on which the human soul 
is built, and to which all the amazing variety of 
human nature can be referred — this is the difficult 
task of the teacher who would be a power for good 
in the hands of God ; and he cannot do it by the 
force of his intellect. It must be done by long- 
trained love and by steady self-forgetfulness, by 
earnest faith in Man as the Child of God, and in 
God as the Father of Man. 

We learn that knowledge slowly, letter by letter, 

word by word ; but to preach it lovingly as we learn 



it, and to hear it wisely — there is the moving power, 
the inspiration, the art, by which the world is helped, 
comforted, made alive, joyful, and regenerated. 
And when the fire of prophecy is cold, and the im- 
pulses which set spiritual mankind forward have 
lost their spring ; and when criticism has taken the 
place of literature, and metrical science the place 
of poetry ; and ethical, intellectual, doctrinal, and 
ritualistic discourses have driven the true sermon 
from the pulpit — it is only by a return to nature ; 
to the heart of man ; to the spirit of God in him ; to 
that with which science and criticism and the powers 
of the intellect have nothing to do ; to that which 
leaves ethics behind and soars into the regions of 
divine love — that the art of prophecy and poetry will 
be again made vital, powerful, new, and glorious. 

I might give from history a hundred instances of 
such regeneration, but two will be enough. When 
the art of painting was dead, or had nothing in it 
to move itself or the world, one man, the scholar 
of another who had begun the work, brought it 
back to human nature. Giotto, full of the passion 
of humanity, set his art into centuries of move- 
ment by returning to the simple and vivid re- 
presentation of the common feelings of the heart. 
He painted motherhood and childhood and wrote 

their emotions on the face and in the attitudes of 

• 367 


men. He painted the adoration of the soul, the 
bitter sorrows of loss, the rapture of the spirit 
going to God, the simple loves and faiths of human 
nature. Even when he was most s3'mbolic he 
was close to natural expression. Men read clearly 
what he meant and rejoiced in it. They drank 
again of the ancient springs of common human 
feeling ; they felt the blood of humanity beating in 
his pictures. His society rose around him in excite- 
ment and delight ; his art was a fountain of life which 
became a river. As it were out of nothing, a host 
of new creators rose. 

When poetry in England had become critical and 

didactic ; when its imagination and passion had died ; 

when it only spoke to a cultured class of men who 

asked of it nothing but fine phrases — how did it once 

more pour forth fresh waters from the living rock, and 

quench the thirst of the weary pilgrims of eternity ? 

It went back to sing of the common woes and 

common love, human nature; of the faith and hopes of 

common men ; of motherhood and sweethearting ; of 

joy in widest commonalty spread ; of the simplicities 

of the flowers and birds, of the clouds and waters of 

the earth in contact with the heart of man ; of the 

silent influences which flow day by day from the 

natural world into the souls of the ignorant and the 

wise, of the peasant and the king. It sang the 



universal emotions of the human heart. The new 
birth slowly grew : a few poets began it, and touched 
the chords of this mighty harp. At last, Words- 
worth came, and smote, like the desert chief of old, 
the rock ; and poetry was reborn. All the great 
singing of this century traces its living music back 
to him. Poets rose out of the impulse that he 
gave in a rejoicing host. Again the world was 
taught to hang upon the breasts of nature and to 
drink her milk of joy ; again it was brought back to 
the fountain of life — to the daily heart of man and 
its ever-fresh outgoings. Again the world was 
comforted, healed and inspired; again taught to 
love, admire, hope, and rejoice. The simple and 
quiet, the eternal and ideal, were once more made 
the heritage and the pleasure of mankind. 

These two examples are enough. They might be 
multiplied out of history. Every resurrection of 
the life of the world has a similar beginning. And 
if we wish to renew the religious life of England, 
to make our preaching and our practice into inspira- 
tion — let us return to the natural, to the common 
doings and wants of the human heart and the long- 
ing spirit ; and put the things of obscure knowledge, 
of criticism and analysis, of the barren intellect, 
into the second place. What have we to do with 
them when we speak and listen, heart to heart, soul 

369 2 A 



to soul ; in the hours of worship when we commune 
face to face with God, with Nature, and with 
Humanity ? With other things we have then to do 
— with those immortal labours and powers of the 
universal heart of man which link us to our brothers 
and our Father ; which grow not old ; interest in 
which never fails ; whose beauty is always new ; 
whose variety is infinite ; whose life kindles life ; 
whose passion has its source in God. 

But the subjects contained in this return to the 
natural and common things, are not, it is often said, 
sufficiently great, numerous, various, interesting or 
beautiful, for a lifetime of teaching. That is the 
great mistake of the present time. It is that mis- 
take which makes the work of all the arts so poor 
at present, and especially the art of preaching. We 
have lost the sense that the greatest, the loveliest 
and the most enduring subjects of thought and feeling 
lie, not in the specialised and the uncommon, but in 
the universal and common things of human nature. 
We have lost the sense that in the emotions common 
to all men, and not in the working of the educated 
intellect which is not common to all; that in love 
and not in knowledge ; the noblest and divinest 
powers are found, and offer themselves for the work 
of the poet. and the preacher. We have lost the 

sense that not in rules of conduct which can be 



prescribed or in moral acts which may be reckoned 
upi but in the passionate love of the spirit of man 
for the perfect — for that which never can be pre- 
scribed and never can be reckoned — the glory of 
man is to be found and the impulse to his true life 
be secured. Were it otherwise, were what is rarely 
met with, were the uncommon, the most interesting, 
the world would be indeed misfortuned. Had nature 
made the most lovely things the least common, it 
were not well-bred of nature. On the contrary, 
God, the Master of nature, has been so kind to us 
that all that we need for the exalting of the spirit, 
for the fairest emotions of the heart, for all that the 
imagination can desire for its food — is scattered 
broadcast, in universal profusion, over outward 
nature and in the world of the human heart. In- 
finite beauty, joy, and love are poured out before 
us, if we will but open our eyes and love. Under 
the common lies the greatest and the loveliest ; in 
the daily life of the affections abides what is most 
interesting and most inspiring. 

Yes, the most enduring and most moving sub- 
jects for every art, and among the rest for the art of 
preaching, are universal in nature and man, and 
have lived a vivid life for countless centuries. 
Many of them belong to the world before man was 
made, and descend to us from the animals. Take, 





Lastly, we are now part of a world which, having 
exhausted one form of Christianity, and not having 
as yet shaped another fitted for a new age, is full of 
active unbelief or inactive carelessness concerning 
the things which belong to the spiritual life. When 
the understanding, the analysing intellect, is made, 
not what it is — an excellent servant in the house 
of life — but the master of life; when the purse 
and its children, display and luxury and greed of 
more, are the lords of action, and of what is called 
thought in society — then the imagination, the desire 
of the infinite, the noble imperatives of eternal 
righteousness and love, the impelling emotions of 
the invisible truths of the spirit are kept in 
prison. Therefore, lay hold of eternal life ; on 
the life which lives on earth for the love of 
God the Father, for the following and the faith of 
Jesus, for those truths which are invisible, im- 
material, and eternal ; the support and pursuit of 
which are worth all the wealth and honour, rank 
and knowledge of the earth. Lay hold on these, 
not only as belonging to the life you live for the sake 
of your fellow-men, but as belonging also to a life 
to come, in which you and your brothers on earth 
shall partake of God for ever. 

It is not much use to argue with, or to attack 
those who live for the things of this world alone. 



You will not do much good in that way, but only 
make a fruitless noise which will set the world more 
closely to its own pursuits. But you will do good, 
and fight the good fight of faith, by a personal grasp 
of this spiritual life ; by so deep a conviction of it 
that your whole life will be its witness ; by so great 
a love of it that all men will feel that this life is the 
first to you, and inconceivably dear to you — so dear 
that you can no more join in the view which says 
** all the world is bad " than you can help joining in 
the new life, which declares that "the world is 
passing on to a new and nobler being." Then when 
that belief is yours, it is so uplifting that all your 
knowledge will become creative, and all your creation 
beautiful. That is the deepest foundation of the 
Christian life in the world, now, and for the future. 
It rests on the faith of Jesus, that God is in this 
world, the Father of every man, the Spirit who 
moves them onward into perfection, stage after stage, 
revelation after revelation. And that is the very life 
and voice of a Christian's prophesying. Prophesy 
it with courage, with faith, with joyful hope, and 
imaginative joy, before the old and decaying world, 
that it may forget its exhaustion, and die that it 
may live. Prophesy it within the new and up- 
springing life of the world, that it may fulfil the 
nobler society to which it now aspires. 





Lord, to whom shall we go ? Thou hast the words of 
eternal life, 

St. John vL 68 

IT may well be asked, in these times of change, 
when men, in matters of religion, change for 
the most part towards loss of the religious ideas 
and call it progress, whether we have changed in 
that fashion, and let slip down the wind the great 
conceptions on which the religion of Christ stands 
fast and immutable amid the tumbling waves. 
And I have asked myself that question, and we may 
all ask ourselves the same. Have we changed the 
ground of our faith? Is what was dear to us 
ten years ago dear to us to-day? What we 
believed to be true ten years ago, do we believe to 
be true to-day ? For my part I have found nothing 
more excellent than the teaching of Jesus Christ, 
and I see nothing which even approaches it in 



I trust that it may be the same with you. Many 
new religions, many new foundations of thought, 
are offered to us on which to build our life. The 
teaching of Christ is put aside by many; it is 
thought by others to have some weight, but that its 
excellence has been exaggerated. There are some 
even who cry it down. 

But it will outlast all its enemies, and it remains 
greater than all the religions and ethical theories 
which have endeavoured to replace it. Only it is 
well in these times of confusion to understand clearly 
what it is, what are its fundamental ideas ; to clear 
it from its excrescences ; to say that many things 
said to belong to it do not belong to it at all. By 
itself, it is of the greatest simplicity, beauty, and 
eternity. And it is so because it rests on Love, 
that is, it rests on God, who, if He were not Love, 
would have no real existence at all. What it is 
I will declare to-day — the everlasting Gospel to the 
human race. 

When I say it is simple, I mean that it is not 
involved with all the doctrinal schemes which men, 
partly for the sake of retaining a tyrannical authority 
over the souls of their fellows, and partly in order 
to make Christianity subservient to the logical 
understanding, have built up around it. All these 
schemes, such as are contained in the Nicene Creed, 



in the sacerdotal theories of the Roman Church, in 
the " Confessions " of the various sects, are intellec- 
tual, not spiritual arrangements, are necessarily 
transient, belonging to the world, and have nothing 
to do with the plain spiritual and eternal ideas 
which Jesus declared. They are not to be found in 
a single thing He said. They arose after His death : 
they are the product of blind logic, not of the seeing 
spirit; of limited thought, not of infinite feeling. They 
are the poor prose of the transient ecclesiastic, not 
the noble poetry of the Eternal Father — and without 
rejecting the use of them altogether, whenever they 
do not militate against the love of God and man 
(for that is the test of their use), we say that they 
are of no vital or absolute importance at all, and 
have nothing to do with eternal life. They are of 
the temporary, unspiritual world, the world of the 
limited intellect — and the fashion of that world 
passeth away. Clear your mind of them; live 
within on a higher plane than that on which they 
move. Your religion is to dwell in the Love of the 
Father whose children you are, not in that conten- 
tious argument of men upon doctrines of religion 
which does away with the Fatherhood of God and 
the Brotherhood of man. 

And, indeed, the first and foremost truth which 
Christ taught was ibat we are not alone in this 



sorrowful world ; but that, beyond all its sorrows, 
we are in the closest possible relation to Him who 
made the world of men, and in whom its sorrows are 
contained. Why sorrows and sins prevail on earth, 
we can but dimly see, but in spite of them, Jesus — 
and surely few have suffered more than He — believed 
and maintained that God bore to us the personal 
relation of a Father, and that we were His dear 
children whom He loved. " There," He thought, " is 
the healing of the world, the medicine for sin and 
sorrow." Indeed, to believe this is to bring right- 
eousness into life and joy into pain. 

When we know that we love God and that God 
loves us, we are healed of the grievous wounds of 
life. In the infinite flood of divine and human love 
our sins and sorrows are drowned, and the ark of joy 
and peace alone survives. To have the heart full 
of love, and to feel that we are infinitely loved, is so 
divine a passion that it lifts us into a world where 
we forget our pains and wrong. We feel our pains 
and sins, but even when we feel them, and many 
are our days of depression, we feel them only for a 
time. We know they will come to an end, and all 
the arguments based on them against the goodness 
and love of God drifl away like feeble clouds before 
the summer wind. The soul is at peace, though life 
be shipwrecked in the storm. We know, though we 



have been battered by sin, that through love of Love 
we are becoming righteous. We know, though 
sorrows are deep, that out of hunger for righteous- 
ness we are attaining joy. We understand, though 
we are left as lonely often as a mountain peak, that 
we are not alone, for the Father is with us. 

This is the first truth as it is in Jesus. We are 
of kin to God ; one with Him for ever ; children who 
are loved by Him, and who will, as the ages pass 
by, come to love Him as He loves us. That divine 
and glorious end of universal love — all the children 
brought to love their Father, the Father living in 
the heart of every child — that is the " far-oflF divine 
event to which the whole creation moves." 

Children, even the worst, are not abandoned 
by a good father upon earth. Much more they 
are not abandoned by their Father in heaven, in 
whom goodness is deeper than the ocean of space ! 
But He does not make them good by force, by 
miraculous command. He sets us to work out our 
salvation, with His help, as true men win their 
liberty — by their own struggle. We must conquer 
goodness at the point of the sword. Through 
mighty effort against wrong, through free choice of 
good, through troubles and endurance, even through 
depths of wrong, God leads His children at last to 
realise their true being and to know Him as theirs 



for ever. That was the belief and the Gospel of 
Christ; and its proclamation — that God was the 
Lover of all, a universal Father — made a new world. 
Had it been held by all, we should be now a 
thousand years in advance of what we are. But the 
theologians and the doctrine-mongers limited God's 
Fatherhood ; made it true only on conditions which 
they themselves, for the sake of keeping their power, 
imposed on men. It is on the shoulders of those 
among them who limited the illimitable love of Christ, 
that the crime lies of destroying the progress of the 
world, of injuring the whole body of humanity, of 
degrading Christ, of making men into haters of God 
and deniers of love. 

It seems of late, and here especially in England, 
that these limits put to the universal love of God are 
less insisted on ; that excluding others from God's 
love is less thought to be the special mark of Chris- 
tians ; that we are finding a common ground of faith 
and conduct in the recognition of the unconditional 
love of God — and for this belated return to the 
good news of Christ, I thank God and take courage. 
At any rate, let us, who have found the faith that 
God holds all in His love, cling to it, teach it by 
our life, and proclaim it night and day. It is the 
highest of truths; and when we have found the 
highest, our business is to live it ; and to love it 



with all our heart and soul and mind and strength ; 
and not to love ourselves. That was the first idea 
of Jesus. 

The second declaration Christ made followed on 
the first. It was the declaration of the Forgiveness 
of Sins. That God was perfectly good was part of 
Christ's thought ; but as He looked round on man, 
He saw that man had greatly given himself over to 
evil. If men were then to know that God was their 
Father, they would have to give up sin and take 
to goodness. Therefore Christ's teaching said — If 
men will only love God, only obey the call of God's 
spirit in them, they will have power to leave off sin 
and to do righteousness. Perfect goodness loves 
you ; love Him a little in return, and do His will. 
And then, living in His will with love, you must cease 
to sin ; and when you cease to sin because you 
love goodness, your sins are forgiven ; they are re- 
membered no more. To be sure, we shall suffer, 
but what of that ? The pain of natural punishment 
is nothing when we are at home with God again. 
If we are loved we can bear suffering with patience 
and in hope. 

The removal of the natural results of wrong-doing, 
of what we call punishment, is not forgiveness. 
Forgiveness is to feel at one with love, with our 
Father's heart ; to feel like a child to God ; to feel 



the Strange delight that we are in union with God 
and His righteousness, and to do what the feeling 
urges ; to feel the emotion of joy in that urging us to 
the act of good. Yes, that is the Forgiveness of 
Sins. A new life is open to us. We hear the voice 
of Jesus : " Go, you will sin no more." 

Of all the wants of the world, none were deeper 
than this. No misery is greater than the conscious- 
ness that having had a tendency to love and justice, 
to purity and pity, to wisdom and temperance, we 
have become unjust, envious, full of hatred, disso- 
lute, fond of the baseness of the flesh, cruel, living 
in folly and shame, intemperate in selfish desire, 
tyrannised over by self; and, living with these com- 
panions, restless and unsatisfied, self-horrified, in- 
wardly ashamed. Men keep their unhappy hearts to 
themselves, but that silent, bitter cry of unquiet 
shame and fear, of longing for release, for peace and 
goodness, rises like a vast cloud of sorrow toward 
heaven from the universal heart of man. Ethics do 
not cure that, nor science, nor philosophy, nor 
humanitarianism : it is an inward matter of misery. 
Religious discussions do not help it. It is no 
remedy for that to be able to balance doctrine against 
doctrine and to analyse by logic the schemes of the 
Churches. It does not cure that to be a master- 
critic, to apply science to the miracles, and the laws 



of history to the Bible. The real matter is deep 
within, beyond these transitory things. Knowledge, 
the mind of man, can do nothing to help this sorrow 
to a final cure. 

But the spirit of Christ can. For nearly twenty 
centuries, the words, the character, the life, the 
teaching, and the death of Jesus, all they were, and 
all they mean, have brought healing to this universal 
misery of man. There are millions of lives to testify 
to this being true. The lost have found themselves ; 
the sinners have ceased to sin ; the miserable have 
become happy ; the restless have reached peace ; the 
dissolute have become pure; the malicious and 
envious have learned to love ; the selfish have devoted 
themselves to others ; the poor of soul have become 
rich, the useless useful ; the fearful brave, and the 
enslaved free. Where the secret lies we cannot 
altogether know, but we shall know hereafter. 
What we do know is the facts ; the results of the 
teaching of Christ. Men are redeemed ; and beneath 
every form of Christianity that is the permanent 
thing. The dogmas do not count, the criticism, the 
discussions are nothing : the healing power, the 
forgiveness of sins — that is all. It is the power 
within to lead a new life and to forget the burden of 
the past — a mighty thing indeed 1 And the reason 
of it all is contained in those words of Jesus, if we 



could but reach their infinite depth in thought. 

" Her sins which are many are forgiven her, for she 

loved much." That was the second declaration of 

Jesus, and it followed from His doctrine of a Father 

of men who, being good, loved them, and could not, 

consistently with fatherhood, leave His children to 

be mastered by evil. He was bound to make them, 

in the end, holy with Himself. 

But this inferred a third truth — the immortality of 

the soul, of the conscious personality of the child of 

God. The Father is immortal, therefore the child. 

Goodness and Love— two names of the same thing 

— ^are necessarily eternal. If the child is to reach 

the goodness and love of the Father, he must be as 

eternal as the Father. If all this trouble be taken 

with the individual child, it is ridiculous to the 

reason, and inconceivable to the hearty that the 

Father should fling that which He laboured for and 

loved into annihilation. If we allow that God is a 

Father, that conclusion of death is unthinkable. 

Then, also, thousands and thousands of persons in 

our scrap of seventy years do not, and cannot, get rid 

of their evil. What shall we say to that ? We say 

that if the Fatherhood of God imply the redemption 

of Man, as Christ maintained, then there must be 

another life in which these wretched children are 

redeemed. If Love is to be Lord of all, if it is Lord 



of ally we cannot be left to death or to evil. God 
would, in doing so, violate His own nature, be false 
to the very basis of His being. If there be a Father, 
not one child loses his life for evermore. 

Of course if there be no God, or if He be a tyrant, 
these arguments fall through ; and the fact is, that 
those who disbelieve immortality are driven to dis- 
belief in God, or to disbelief in His being Love. But 
Christ did not disbelieve in immortal life for man* 
He said it inevitably followed on his faith in the 
Fatherhood of God; and He proclaimed the immor- 
tality of His brother men; and indeed without it, all 
His previous declarations would have been as snow 
in the water. They would have died as they fell on 
the heart of man. 

These are the three great ideas that Christ pro- 
claimed to the personal soul ; and in them, for our 
individual lives, all Christianity is contained. The 
first secures Lx)ve, with its universal power. The 
second secures Conduct, the doing of righteousness, 
with its universal use. The third secures Life, 
with its universal joy, and the life will finally be at 
one with Love and Righteousness. The three 
truths mingle, like the three primary colours, into 
absolute light. Of course, we can weave out of 
them by intellectual analysis all kinds of doctrines, 
forms and ceremonies; but these rise and pass 



away, and they have no weight except for a time. 
They are unnecessary in the eternal world of God ; 
not one of them touches our salvation, that is, our 
union with Grod ; they are human, not divine ; of the 
Church and the sect, not of Christ. Of course, we 
can make out of them all the motives and means for 
the infinite variety of spiritual emotion in the various 
souls of men ; in their art and literature and life ; 
but these are but the playing of the waves in our 
souls at the bidding of the winds of circumstance. 
They ruffle the surface of the ocean. The deep 
unfathomable ocean itself is the three great Christian 
conceptions, the three great Christian truths — the 
Fatherhood of God, the Forgiveness of Sins, the 
Immortality of the Soul. These are Christianity, 
and all the rest is either transient, or unnecessary. 
These are the three that abide ; these are the most 
excellent thoughts on which a man can anchor his 
ship of life. These, as the world passes away and 
the desire thereof, endure and shine like the eyes 
of God Himself. Our business and our glory is to 
live in them ; to abide in the abiding ; to cling to 
the most excellent 

This then is the teaching of Christ in relation 
to the individual soul. But if that were all, more 
than half of our deepest interests would be left 
out. More than half of human life would be un- 



appealed to. The expansion of the soul in love 
would not only be unsecured, it would also be 
injured. If that were the whole of religion, it 
might end in fixing our thoughts only on ourselves ; 
and end, through engendering selfishness, in the 
death of religion. 

Folk have made this personal religion all; but 
that was not the way of Christ. He secured a 
personal religion by bringing each of us into the 
closest contact with our Father, but He swept us 
far beyond that individual relation. His whole life 
and His death maintained that we were to pass 
beyond ourselves into union with mankind, and that 
only in sacrifice of self for those not ourselves, 
could we win our true life. He that loveth his life 
shall lose it, he that loseth his life the same shall 
find it. Die for men ; die for the truths that bless 
and redeem men ; die for the love of your brethren, 
if you would live. Death of self for love's sake is 
life eternal. 

Thus He bound up personal with collective 
religion, the individual soul with the soul of mankind; 
the love of Grod with the love of man ; the particular 
with the universal. In His relation to God within 
His own soul, Jesus stood alone with God, and His 
individuality was preserved. In our separate rela- 
tion to God, each in his own soul, our individuality